An Adirondack wetland

BRI logo artwork


New York State
BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

ON JUNE 30, 2009, THE BRI PROGRAM OFFICE WILL BE CLOSING DOWN TEMPORARILY. THE ACTING DIRECTOR OF BRI AND THE BRI EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ARE WORKING TO REINSTATE STAFF AND WE HOPE TO BEGIN PROGRAM ACTIVITIES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. WE DO NOT ANTICIPATE ANY CHANGES TO THE UPCOMING FALL 2009 BRI BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION LECTURE SERIES OR TO THE 2010 NORTHEAST NATURAL HISTORY CONFERENCE, SO PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY.



Biodiversity Grants Program

BRI projects funded prior to fiscal year 2000:


New York Natural Heritage Program Botanist
Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership
New York Amphibian and Reptile Atlas
Bryophytes of the High Peaks
Inventory and Monitoring of Important Bird Species
Propagation of Rare Plants/Endangered Plant Species Recovery
New York State Calcareous Fen Research Initiative
Biodiversity from the Ground Up: Repatriating Native Cypripedium Orchids to the Finger Lakes Land Trust Biodiversity Preserve
New York State Parks Biodiversity Initiative
New York State Museum Inventory of Sterling Forest
Allegheny River Rare Fish Study
Long Island Pine Barrens Research
Sustainable Forestry/Silvicultural Project
Invasive Plant Council of New York State
A Field Guide to the Albany Pine Bush
Northeastern Fern Identifier

 
New York Natural Heritage Program Botanist

Eldridge Swamp

Description: The BRI has hired Stephen Young to fill the position of a much-needed botanist with the New York Natural Heritage program. His botanical expertise is an essential part of the team of scientists carrying out the mandates of the Natural Heritage Program. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation continues to provide fish and wildlife biologists and community ecologists to conduct Natural Heritage inventories. A new rare plant status list was produced in May 2006. It is available from the NY Natural Heritage Program at: Rare Plant Information.

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1995 – present


(Photo description: New York Natural Heritage Program scientists searching for rare plants in Eldridge Swamp, Washington County, photo by Stephen Young.)

 
Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership

Description: Created in 1994, the mission of the Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership is to:

ShawangunksActively protect the elements of biodiversity and other natural, cultural, scenic and recreational resources of the Shawangunks by sharing information and expertise.

The Shawangunk Ridge (pronounced SHON-gum) represents an area of extraordinary biodiversity value and a major scenic and recreational resource for the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and New Jersey. It includes a park preserve (Minnewaska State Park), a private nature preserve (Mohonk Preserve) and a Preserve owned by the Open Space Institute and managed by the Nature Conservancy (Sam's Point Dwarf Pitch Pine Ridge Preserve). The Nature Conservancy has designated the Shawangunk Ridge as one of the 75 "Last Great Places" worldwide. The Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership currently has 11 partners, of both public and non-profit private organizations. The Partnership uses ecological research balanced with recreational needs to make management and conservation land use decisions for the Shawangunk Ridge.

Principal Investigators: Stephanie Gifford (Eastern New York and Lower Hudson Chapters of the Nature Conservancy) and Cara Lee (Shawangunk Ridge Program, The Nature Conservancy).

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1995 – present

(Photo description: Pitch pines (Pinus rigida) on the Shawangunk ridge.)

 
New York Amphibian and Reptile Atlas

Reptile Project Logo

Description: Research has shown that amphibians form a significant link in the food chain, both as predators on invertebrates and prey for higher vertebrates. They can also function as ecosystem indicators and in certain cases, exemplary species for biodiversity in select areas or regions. Declines of reptiles and amphibians have been attributed to habitat loss, unregulated collecting, black market sale, acid rain and other pollutants, global perturbations, and deliberate persecution by man. Reports of declines can not be substantiated without comprehensive baseline data. Several species of herpetofauna historically known from the state have not been reported in recent years. There is a compelling need for a comprehensive assessment of our herpetofaunal biodiversity to determine the present status of these taxa and to compare this with historic records. Development and implementation of management activities will benefit from the distribution and occurrence information that this atlas will provide. This project is managed and maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 1999 marks the last year of data collection for the project. An interim report was published in November 1999.

Additional information on this project can be found at NYS Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Project coordinator: Alvin Breisch, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1996 – 2000

 
Inventory and Monitoring of Selected Bird Species in Important Bird Areas

IBA logoDescription:The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Audubon New York are cooperating on a program to identify critical migratory bird breeding, stopover, viewing, and feeding areas in New York State.This program will develop an inventory of the key sites of bird diversity and abundance in New York State and link avian population databases to a GIS maintained by the NYSDEC for strategically planning bird conservation efforts. In 1998, a book describing all 127 Important Bird Areas in New York State was published by and is available from Audubon New York. A description of the Important Bird Area program is available at Audubon New York. These surveys were carried out by Audubon staff or volunteers or were done as part of cooperative monitoring projects like the Cerulean Warbler Atlas Project. In 1997, landmark legislation was passed to designate Bird Conservation Areas (BCA) in New York State. These are state lands that fit specific criteria for bird diversity, rarity or research. BCA's will be managed for the birds of interest.

Principal Investigator: Michael F. Burger, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon New York

(Graphic description: Logo of the Important Bird Areas project)

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1996 – present

 
Propagation of Rare Plants/Endangered Plant Species Recovery

DEC logo

Description:The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation completed a project with the Long Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to re-establish sandplain gerardia (Agalinis acuta) to Long Island. The efforts include replanting, ecosystem management techniques and long term monitoring. Sandplain gerardia Agalinis acuta is federally listed as endangered. Only 12 populations exist in five states: Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Six of these are located on Long Island, so recovery of the LI populations is important to the survival of the species. Results showed the largest population sizes since 1984, when The Nature Conservancy began monitoring the rare plant.

Principal Investigator: Marilyn Jordan, Stewardship Ecologist, Long Island Chapter of the The Nature Conservancy

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1997 – 1998


New York State Calcareous Fen Research Initiative

Mud Pond Fen

Description: The Nature Conservancy has identified calcareous fens as one of New York's statewide conservation priorities. Fens are open peatland natural communities associated with groundwater discharge areas that harbor a diverse array of plants and animals including the NY Endangered bog buckmoth, federal Threatened bog turtle and numerous state rare plants. New York harbors a globally significant concentration of high quality rich and medium fens aggregated in the central and western portions of the state in the Great Lakes and High Allegheny Ecoregions. The richness of the calcareous fen communities in New York presents many opportunities for biodiversity protection by state agencies, The Nature Conservancy, and other public and private partners. In order to efficiently use limited resources The Nature Conservancy has undertaken this two year project to survey the high quality fen occurrences in the state, map them, and refine the classification of types, to provide a basis for setting conservation priorities for this very important component of New York's biodiversity. In addition to the community classification, the project has undertaken research to answer the pressing need to better understand what is arguably the rarest insect of the New York fens: the bog buckmoth (Hemileuca sp.).

Principal Investigator:  Sandra Bonanno, Eastern Lake Ontario Project, Central and Western New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy

(Photo description: Bob Zaremba at Mud Pond Fen in Oswego County, photo by Andy Zepp.)

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1997 – 2000

 
Biodiversity from the Ground Up: Repatriating Native Cypripedium Orchids to the Finger Lakes Land Trust Biodiversity Preserve

orchid

Description:  Cornell University and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have cooperatively begun this project in an attempt to restore two rare orchids, Cypripedium reginae and C. parviflorum to the Finger Lakes Land Trust Lindsey-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve. The effort has focused on transplanting the orchids in three test sites, including one control. In 1999, the biodiversity preserve, 7 % of the plants survived. The control site, Eames Bog, had 10 % survival. The third site, Land Trust Thurber Preserve, was planted in 1999. Thus far none of the test plants were inoculated by mycorrhizae, which the plants need to obtain soil nutrients. This project ends in 2000.

Project coordinators: Thomas H. Whitlow, Assistant Professor at Cornell University, and Kenneth W. Mudge, Associate Professor at Cornell University

(Photo description: Yellow ladyslipper, Cypripedium parviflorum Salisbury var. pubescens (Willdenow) Knight, photo by Thomas H. Whitlow)

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1997 – 2000


New York State Parks Biodiversity Initiative

Parks logo

Description: The purpose of this project is to initiate pilot projects designed to refine approaches for assessing biodiversity in New York State Parks and Historic Sites. Specifically, it directs the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to conduct reviews that identify the extent to which rare species' habitats and important ecological communities exist on lands under their jurisdiction. The New York Natural Heritage Program has completed its second year of a 5-year contract with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation (OPRHP). There are over 200 parks and historic sites in the State Parks system, with over 65 million annual visitors. An ecological community map has been prepared for Allegheny State Park, the largest park in the system. Sterling Forest State Park, the newest large state park, and Iona Island/Doodletown Marsh, in the same region, have been mapped as well. State Parks surveyed in 1999 were Moreau Lake (Saratoga County), John Boyd Thacher (Albany County), Fahnestock (Putnam County), Bear Mountain (Orange and Rockland Counties), Letchworth (Wyoming County), Hither Hills (Suffolk County), Montauk Point (Suffolk County), Orient Beach (Suffolk County), Clark Reservation (Onondaga County), Chittenango Falls (Madison County), Buttermilk Falls (Tompkins County), Robert Treman (Tompkins County), Evangola (Erie County), Woodlawn Beach (Erie County), and Whetstone Gulf (Lewis County).

Principal Investigator:  Tom Lyons, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Final Report: The final report from this project is available from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation's website on their Publications page. The report is titled Biodiversity in New York's State Park System.

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1996 – 2004

 
New York State Museum Inventory of Sterling Forest

Description: Scientists from the New York State Museum have conducted faunal and floral inventories of the recently acquired Sterling Forest State Park. Lists of species were generated for amphibians, reptiles, fish, crayfish, mammals, insects (butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and damselflies), and plants.

Project coordinators: Robert Daniels, Curator of Ichthyology, New York State Museum, Richard S. Mitchell, State Botanist, New York State Museum, and Timothy McCabe, Curator of Entomology, New York State Museum

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1998 – 2000

 
Allegheny River Rare Fish Study

Description: The goal of this project is to assess the status of the rare fishes of the Allegheny River in New York. The surveys were conducted as a collaborative effort of the Seneca Nation, NYOPRHP, NYSDEC and the NYSM. The sites were sampled in late summer, 1998, spring and late summer of 1999. Increased effort was spent at sites where these species were present historically and where habitat matched that of the historic sites. Although we documented over 50 species of fish during the surveys, few species of rare fish were observed. The surveys will be completed in 2000.

Project coordinators: Robert Daniels, Curator of Ichthyology, New York State Museum, and Doug Carlson, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1998 – 2000

 
Long Island Pine Barrens Research

Description: Part of this research monitored the effect of fire on the Long Island Pine Barrens, a fire-regulated community. An ecological assessment of the effects of a severe 1995 Long Island Pine Barrens wildfire was completed in 1997. After the fire, the barrens had a more open canopy and a shift to species that were able to survive the intense fire. In addition, a Conceptual ecological model for the Long Island Pine Barrens was developed. This model predicts the responses of species and community types to fire in the Long Island Pine Barrens. The research will be used by TNC and the Long Island Pine Barrens Commission in fire management for rare ecological communities in the pine barrens.

Principal Investigator: Marilyn Jordan, Stewardship Ecologist, Long Island Chapter of the The Nature Conservancy

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1996 – 1997

 
Forest Management Practices and Wildlife Diversity

Description: This collaborative project with SUNY ESF is part of the biodiversity stewardship research goals of the BRI. The project manager is comparing bird and amphibian counts at forest stands in the Adirondacks at varying degrees of tree loss, from light harvesting to clear cut to those forest patches impacted by the 1998 ice storm. The goal of this project is to help Adirondack landowners manage their land, by understand the impact of land use decisions on wildlife.

Principal Investigator: Michael F. Burger, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon New York

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1999 – 2001

 
Invasive Plants Council of New York State

Description: The Invasive Plant Council of New York State (IPCNYS) was incorporated in 1999 with the following goals in mind:

  • Educating the public and policymakers about the ecological threats of invasive plants
  • Promoting sound scientific research on the ecological effects of invasives
  • Promoting sound scientific research on the management of invasive plants
  • Organize conferences that promote cooperation and data sharing on invasive plants research

For more information about the Invasive Plant Council of New York State, visit their website.

Fiscal Year of Awards: 1999 – current

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