Multi-Species Baseline Initiative: Getting the Most Bang for the Survey and Monitoring Buck

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Terrestrial
wildlife management
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Selkirk Mountains
multispecies baseline initiative
Volume 18, No. 1-4

Multi-species baseline initiative: getting the most 
Bang for the survey and monitoring buck
Michael Lucid*, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Coeur d' Alene, ID, 83805
Human dominated landscape change is occurring at unprecedented rates and there is much 
concern for how land use planners can help species remain resilient over time. However, for 
many species we lack a baseline understanding of the most basic of biological information 
such as range and distribution. Even a single survey of little known taxa groups can yield 
a wealth of information. For instance, our 2010 multi-species survey of 172 sites in the 
U.S. Selkirk Mountains yielded the first verifiable Idaho detection of magnum mantleslugs 
(Magnipelta mycophaga) in 68 years (17 specimens from 11 sites) and a higher than expected 
detection rate of the Idaho state imperiled (S2) fir pinwheel snail (Radiodiscus abietum) (105 
specimens from 45 sites). Even species more charismatic than invertebrates often suffer from 
a lack of basic understanding. For instance, our 2010  Selkirk Mountain survey obtained the 
first verifiable lynx (Lynx canadensis) detection in the U.S. portion of that range in 18 years. 
The Multi-species Baseline Initiative (MBI) is driven by a diverse group of partners including 
not-for-profits, universities, tribes, state, and federal agencies. MBI’s goals are to (1) 
describe the occurrence and distribution of multiple species, emphasizing species of greatest 
conservation need, in the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges and (2) implement 
a single long term monitoring plan for these species. We have divided our 23,825 km2 survey 
area into 953 5x5 km survey cells. During 2010 and 2011 we conducted 476 surveys for 
beetles, terrestrial gastropods, and forest carnivores at 476 (50%) of our survey cells.