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Wildlife Diversity Projects

The wildlife diversity program frequently takes on special projects usually focused on research and data collection or the conservation of an imperiled species. Some of these projects are short-term and volunteer-driven like the 5 year Breeding Bird Atlas project while others are long-term and require a lot of staff and time such as the Multi-species Inventory and Monitoring Project.

There are also projects with a primary focus on a particular species such as the Peregrine Falcon Restoration, Osprey Restoration, Trumpeter Swan Restoration, and the Prairie Chicken Project. The ultimate goal of all these projects is the conservation of Iowa’s natural resources.

Breeding Bird Atlas II

Iowa’s 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas was a five-year project (2008 - 2012), where professionals and volunteers collected information on the current ranges of Iowa’s breeding birds. The intention is to enhance our understanding of these species, their breeding range, and their habitat selection, in order to better inform future management decisions. Numerous changes to Iowa’s landscape in the 17 years since the first atlas project was completed in 1990 (e.g., widespread wetland restorations and the CRP program) suggest that a second atlas project will reveal many changes.

Around the state, there were 791 BBA search blocks, to be visited and completed by the end of 2012. This project required many hours of volunteer help from birders statewide.
For more information check out the Breeding Bird Atlas website.

The BBA was sponsored by the Iowa Ornithologists Union and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. A publication of the project results is forthcoming.

Wildlife News

Iowa Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring

Recent wildlife monitoring efforts within Iowa have centered primarily on either game species or been conducted by individuals and groups interested in a specific type 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and will continue but Iowa also needs efforts on other, less visible species as several of these surveys are either out of date and/or limited in scope.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.

Contact information:
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,


The Iowa Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Technical Manual is presented in 2 formats. The first format is as a complete manual for those interested in the entire program. The second format is as individual protocols for each taxonomic group. The same information is presented in each format. The manual, however, is 229 pages with all 5 appendices, which may be too cumbersome for those interested in only 1 or 2 taxonomic groups.

For those interested in the entire program, we recommend downloading:

For those interested in only certain taxonomic groups, we recommend downloading:

With the exception of Appendix 1 Tables of Iowa Wildlife, information for all relevant appendices is included in the individual monitoring protocols.