Recent wildlife monitoring efforts within Iowa have centered primarily on either game species or been conducted by individuals and groups interested in a specific taxa of wildlife. These surveys are important and will continue but Iowa also needs efforts on other, less visible species as several of these surveys are either out of date and/or limited in scope. Long-term monitoring programs give the best picture of the status of wildlife populations over time. Well-designed short term surveys and inventories can indicate the current status and distribution of wildlife but are often valid only in the area where they are conducted and may quickly become obsolete if habitat or other critical factors change.
The lack of species specific information on the abundance and distribution of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) was one of the concerns highlighted in the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan
. The Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program (MSIM), therefore, is a standardized, statewide survey which will provide a basic inventory of Iowa's wildlife. These surveys will serve as a baseline for long-term monitoring of Iowa wildlife populations. Since it is not possible survey wildlife in every piece of available habitat in Iowa, a randomized sampling design will be used to select representative habitats from which statewide inferences can be made about wildlife in Iowa. The Iowa MSIM program is designed to sample as many species as can be found, including those that are currently considered 'common'. In having unbiased, representative, random samples, the status and trends if all species can be described to the best extent possible. There is no way to predict which common species will be rare in the future, nor which rare species may or may not be common in the future.
The inventory monitoring program incorporates permanent sampling areas on public (federal, state, and county owned) as well as private (CRP, WRP, NGO, etc.) lands. As funding becomes available, the program outlined in Iowa's MSIM Technical Manual
will be implemented on additional areas. The program will focus on public lands and private lands and is designed to aid in monitoring private lands enrolled in conservation programs (CRP, WRP, LIP, etc.). The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has the primary responsibility for coordinating the program, but the program is designed so that partners (County Conservation Boards, USFWS, NGO's, etc.) can participate fully in the process.
Iowa Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Technical Manual
Karen Kinkead, Ph.D., Monitoring and Research Biologist
Wildlife Diversity Program, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Boone Wildlife Research Station
1436 255th Street, Boone, IA 50036
Phone (515)432-2823 ext. 115, Karen.Kinkead@dnr.iowa.gov