State Wildlife Grant - T2-6-R

Project Title

Evaluating the Distribution of River Otters and Beavers throughout the Missouri and Souris River Drainages in North Dakota

Target Species

River Otters and Beavers

Timeline

Oct. 2009 – June 2014

Investigators

Dr. Tom Serfass, Frostburg State University

Description

Virtually nothing is known about the status and distribution of river otters in central and western North Dakota. This project will apply traditional field surveys and questionnaire evaluations of conservation professionals, trappers, and fishermen to determine if otters occupy drainages in those portions of the state. Also, landscape altering activities by beavers (e.g., construction of dams and lodges) create important habitat for otters. Very little is known about the distribution, habitat use, and abundance of beavers in North Dakota. This study will evaluate co-occurrence of beaver and otters and, also, determine habitat conditions associated with the occurrence of beavers and various beaver activities. When appropriate, habitat models will be constructed for use in predicting the occurrence of otters and beavers. Knowledge and attitudes of key stakeholders will be evaluated to determine their knowledge, opinions, and tolerance of both otters and beavers.