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Tuesday, January 26 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Conservation and Management of The Massasauga in Northeast Ohio

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AUTHORS: Gregory Lipps*, The Ohio State University; Nicholas Smeenk, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Recent surveys in Northeast Ohio have resulted in the confirmation of previously unreported populations of the eastern massasauga. Working with a diverse group of partners, including federal, state, and local government agencies, land trusts, and NGOs, several of these properties have been protected through fee simple acquisitions or conservation easements. The partnership has also worked together to implement management actions to set back succession and control invasive species. A major challenge moving forward is determining ideal habitat conditions and management techniques that do not result in unsustainable rates of management-related mortality. During 2015, we began standardized habitat assessments to characterize the vegetation and structure of massasauga habitat in Ohio. These assessments are being compared to data on the health of snake populations, including population density, demographics, body condition, and blood values. Understanding the link between habitat quality and population viability is needed in order to determine the actual costs and benefits associated with habitat management.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST