Pre-Conference Symposia


The Professional Development Committee is developing pre-conference events that include a North American Pika Symposium, a Sage Grouse Symposium, an Altamont Pass Symposium, a Wildlife Biologist Construction Awareness Training (WildC.A.T.), and a Wilderness First Aid certification class.   Stay tuned for more information!


pikaFourth Conference of the North American Pika Consortium

  • February 6-7, 2017 at the Peppermill Resort
  • Requires separate registration, $100 early registration rate/$60 early registration rate for students/early career professional/retirees

Preliminary Schedule (subject to change based on abstract submissions and other input)
Monday, February 6
7:30am – 8:30am Registration Check-in; Onsite Registration
8:30am – 12:00pm Oral Presentations
12:00pm – 1:30 pm Lunch (on your own)
1:30pm – 5:00 pm Oral Presentations
7:00pm – 9:00pm Poster Session, Social Mixer

Tuesday, February 7
8:00am – 10:00am Oral Presentations
10:00am – 11:30am NAPC Working Group Meetings (Part 1)
11:30am – 12:30 pm Lunch (on your own)
12:30pm – 2:00pm NAPC Working Group Meetings (Part 2)
2:00pm – 2:45 pm Working Group reports
2:45pm – 3:00pm Wrap-up

Working Groups. We are planning to schedule time for the following working group topics.  Please contact if you have suggestions for alternative topics:

  • Population Genetics & Genomics,
  • Health & Physiology,
  • Field Methods,
  • Climate,
  • Education, Outreach and Citizen Science,
  • Distribution and Habitat, and
  • Research and Review

When registering online, please make sure to select the NAPC event if you are registering for just the pika conference, or for the pika conference plus the TWS-WS meeting if you prefer to attend both

Volunteer Opportunities Interested in serving as a volunteer for this meeting? We are looking for assistance with material preparation, equipment set-up/breakdown, session chairing, and student judging! Please contact for more information!

For more Information contact:

Erik Beever, Ph.D.

USGS Northern Rocky Mtn. Science Center


Scott D. Osborn, Ph.D.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife



Kelly Brie Klingler, Ph.D. candidate

Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology

University of Nevada, Reno

Link to more information:

Greater Sage-grouse Symposium   Identifying and Managing Threats to Great Basin Greater Sage-grouse Populations

Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service

  • Tuesday, February 7, 8:30am-5:00pm
  • Requires separate registration, $90 pre-registration rate/$65  pre-registration rate for students/early career professional/retirees

Throughout the range of Greater Sage-grouse, populations have experienced declines over the last 50 years.  Within the Great Basin, declines of sage-grouse are thought to be attributed to Juniper expansion, altered fire regimes, conversion of sagebrush habitat to annual grasslands, and grazing by non-native ungulates.  This symposium will address the effects each of these components have on sage-grouse populations with the best available science and provide recommendations for management.  Researchers will discuss how sage-grouse life history and demographic rates respond to these threats.  Managers will discuss how to implement conservation actions on private, corporate, and public lands.  The goal of this symposium is to provide information regarding perceived and realized threats to greater sage-grouse populations within the great basin.  The symposium will conclude with a moderated panel discussion, with the opportunity for the audience to present questions to the invited speakers.    Any questions? If so, please contact organizer: Phillip Street:


Speaker Title Start time
Breeding biology Phillip Street Introduction and Welcome 9:00
Gail Patriceli How loud is too loud? The impact of gas field noise on Greater Sage-grouse lek trends 9:05
Tessa Behnke Reproductive cost for female Greater Sage-grouse 9:25
Phillip Street Late summer habitat as a limiting factor of fitness for Greater Sage-grouse 9:45
Kristin Kane Using fitness landscapes and life table response experiments to predict the importance of local areas to regional population dynamics 10:05
Break 10:25
Juniper and Fire Christian Hagen Greater Sage-Grouse and the big squeeze: conservation challenges and opportunities in the Great Basin 10:45
Andrew Olsen Improved Greater Sage-grouse vital rates after western juniper removal 11:05
Pete Coates Using sage-grouse habitat suitability and gene flow as ecological currency in spatially explicit decision support tools for pinyon-juniper management 11:25
Mark Ricca Linked effects of pinyon-juniper encroachment on sage-grouse movements, habitat selection, and fitness 11:45
Lunch 12:05
Lunch 12:25
Lunch 12:45
Management Shawn Espinosa The Greater Sage-grouse challenge: Juggling habitat conservation, improvement and cumulative effects of anthropogenic development 13:05
Jim Sedinger Transmission line impacts on Greater Sage-grouse populations 13:25
Digger Anthony Acute demographic response of Greater Sage-grouse following a mega-wildfire 13:45
Katie Andrle The Nevada conservation credit system: A mechanism for achieving net conservation gain for Greater Sage-grouse habitat in Nevada 14:05
Thad Heater NRCS Sage grouse initiative mesic & riparian meadow conservation 14:25
Break 14:45
Panel discussion Sedinger, Coates, Hagen, Espinosa        moderator:Street 15:05
Sedinger, Coates, Hagen, Espinosa        moderator:Street 15:25
Sedinger, Coates, Hagen, Espinosa        moderator:Street 15:45
Sedinger, Coates, Hagen, Espinosa        moderator:Street 16:05
Sedinger, Coates, Hagen, Espinosa        moderator:Street 16:25
Sedinger, Coates, Hagen, Espinosa        moderator:Street 16:45

Altamont Pass Symposium 

Photo by Shawn Smallwood

  • Monday 1-5:30pm, 7-9pm, and Tuesday 9am-3pm, February 6-7, Peppermill Resort
  • Requires separate registration, $110 pre-registration rate/$65 pre-registration rate for students/early career professional/retirees

The Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA), located in central California’s San Francisco Bay Area, began industrial-scale wind energy production in the early 1980s. Soon thereafter, a “perfect storm” of conflict evolved between energy producers, scientists, politicians, regulators, consultants, and land owners surrounding the impacts of APWRA operations. Controversy erupted over the methods of reporting, monitoring and estimating avian and bat fatalities, the impacts of those fatalities on local populations, especially raptors, and the development and implementation of mitigation measures to lessen those impacts. This mix of interests spawned numerous lawsuits and settlement agreements between the various players, which have defined the direction and future of the APWRA. That future is leading to a repowering of the APWRA (replacing numerous smaller wind turbines with fewer next-generation mega-turbines). Efforts are underway to inform repowering with adaptive management and the latest science to site wind turbines carefully and reduce collision risk to golden eagles and other raptors. The APWRA is thus at a crossroads. This symposium will present in a series of talks an overview of the history of the APWRA, its controversies, science, and lessons learned, with the goal of promoting use of the information elsewhere to meet the challenges of balancing increasing wind-energy development with minimizing impacts to wildlife. A panel discussion with audience participation will follow the talks.  Any questions?  If so, please contact meeting organizer, Jeff Smith:

Preliminary List of Presentations

Please check back in January for a detailed program agenda. Thematically oriented panel Q&A discussions will be interspersed among the presentations to round out the program.

Monday February 6th 1:00 – 5:30 PM

  • Judd Howell, H. T Harvey & Associates:  Altamont Pass, Wind Energy and Birds, the Early Days
  • Grainger Hunt, The Peregrine Fund:  Reflections on a Quarter Century of Bird Conservation Science at Altamont Pass
  • Shawn Smallwood, Independent Consultant:  Developing Methods to Understand and Mitigate Fatalities in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area: 1998–2007


  • Zack Walton, SSL Law Firm:  Repowering the Altamont in an Uncertain Regulatory Environment (2010–Present)
  • Sandra Rivera, Alameda County Community Development Agency:  Overview of Local Regulation in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area
  • Mike Lynes, Audubon California:  NGO perspective on Reducing Avian Mortality in the Altamont Pass through Repowering
  • Jim Estep, Estep Environmental Consulting:  The Scientific Review Committee: Establishment, Role, and Limitations
  • Doug Leslie, ICF International:  Limitations of Currently Available Techniques for Estimation of Turbine-Related Fatalities and Their Use in Decision Making Illustrated Using Data from the Alameda County Avian Fatality Monitoring Program
  • Julie Yee, U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center:  Estimating Fatalities Under Imperfect Conditions for Detecting Carcasses

Tuesday February 7th 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

  • Shawn Smallwood, Independent Consultant:  Collision Hazard Models for Micro-siting Turbines during Repowering of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area
  • Lauren Huff, MIG | TRA Environmental Sciences:  Avian Fatality at a Repowered Wind Farm in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area
  • Kim Brown, Ventus Environmental Solutions:  Repowering Vasco Winds: The Effects of Repowering and Adding Knowledge for the Future of Repowering in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area
  • Brad Schafer, ICF International:  Overview of Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Programmatic Environmental Impact Report
  • Doug Bell, East Bay Regional Park District:  The East Bay Regional Park District’s Roll in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area: Don Quixote Redux or Collective Collaboration?
  • David Wiens, USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center:  Spatial patterns in demography and local abundance of Golden Eagles in the vicinity of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area
  • Todd Katzner, USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center:  Golden Eagle Fatalities and the Continental-Scale Consequences of Local Wind-Energy Generation


  • Laura Nagy, Avangrid Renewables:  State and Federal Renewable Energy Goals, How to Avoid Pitfalls
  • Moderated Overarching Lessons Learned Panel Discussion and Final Q&A

Wilderness First Aid with Foster Calm – 16 hours

  • Monday 12:30-9pm and Tuesday 8:30am-5pm, February 6-7, Peppermill Resort
  • Requires separate registration, $200, includes cost of WFA class, Monday night dinner, and Tuesday lunch.

foster-calmIn addition to a half day of outdoor scenario practice of first aid and leadership skills, this class focuses on practicing skills and covering: patient assessment, shock and bleeding, head and spinal injuries, wounds, musculoskeletal injuries, heat and cold illnesses and much more. Gain some good tools and knowledge to handle a wilderness first aid emergency. Successful completion of class includes a Wilderness First Aid certificate.

Classes are fun with lots of hands-on skills practice. The emphasis is on making good decisions by staying calm and safe, doing a good patient assessment, and having good communication and leadership. Join our classes, where it is safe to learn and OK to make mistakes.

Wildlife Biologist Construction Awareness Training (WildC.A.T.)

  • February 7, 2017:  Tuesday 1-5pmWildC.A.T. logo
  • Requires separate registration, $85 registration rate/$65 registration rate for students/retirees
  • A half day afternoon workshop immediately before the 2017 Annual Meeting of The Western Section of The Wildlife Society
  • Limited to the first 34 registrants

Wildlife biologists are often called on to provide technical expertise and implement protective measures on construction sites, but rarely receive practical training in environmental permits or safety training as they enter the workforce. This half-day workshop provides an introduction to construction monitoring for recent graduates, early career professionals, and regular construction monitors, and will be taught by experienced wildlife biologists, construction personnel, and health and safety officers. Learn about the environmental permits that require construction monitoring, what to expect on construction job sites, situational awareness and health and safety basics, common environmental protection issues and Best Management Practices, effective communication techniques with construction crews, and useful tools of the trade. Upon completion of the workshop, attendees will receive a certificate of completion and helmet sticker that shows prospective employers and construction personnel in the field that they have attended WildC.A.T. training.  Any questions?  If so, please contact organizer:  Erika Walther:

Here’s what last year’s workshop participants said:

“I really enjoyed the open and welcome interaction between the speakers and audience. The input from both sides is very helpful for one who is very new to the field of construction bio-monitoring.”

“I’ve been monitoring construction projects for years and some things were presented that I never thought about!”
“Excellent overview – with many helpful details – on the trade. This was a great introduction that covered all aspects well.”