February 2006

Surveillance | Land Management | Education | Research | Conservation Management

New on the ESER Website

First and Second Quarter 2005 Surveillance Quarterly Reports

Weeds of the INL -INL
acknowledges eleven noxious weeds currently found onsite. Two other locally problematic weeds are also included in this booklet.

Ask an ESER Scientist - Ask a Scientist is an easy way to get answers to your biology questions. Browse through the question archives or submit a question of your own!

Desert Species of the Month

An Animal of the High Desert - Northern Grasshopper Mouse

Desert Species of the Month Archive

Environmental Surveillance:
Focus on ISU's Environmental Assessment Laboratory

Laboratory analysis of radionuclides (gross alpha, gross beta, gamma and tritium) for the ESER surveillance program is performed by the Idaho State University's Environmental Assessment Laboratory.


Environmental Education - New Classroom Presentations Available

Winter Adaptations - How do southeastern Idaho animals survive  in the wintertime.  Topics covered include migration, adaptation and hibernation.

Pyramid of Life - ecosystems, organisms, organs systems, organs, tissues, cells, molecules, and atoms.

Schedule a presentation:
Alana Jensen

Contact Us

Contact us:
ESER Program
S. M. Stoller Corp.
1780 First Street
Idaho Falls, ID  83401



New ESER Contract and
Team Members

Stoller Idaho was re-awarded the Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Contract by DOE Idaho Operations Office on November 21, 2005. DOE determined Stollerís proposal provided the best value to the Government. Stoller proposed significantly strong approaches to regional university involvement, education and communication, innovative research capability and conservation management planning.

ESER Team members are S. M. Stoller Corp., University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., and the Wildlife Conservation Society.  The ESER Program is also partnered with the Rocky Mountain and Great Basin Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESUs).

 More Information

Land Management

Mid-Winter Raptor Count - Every year scientists and bird-watchers throughout the country participate in the national Midwinter Bald Eagle Count. The ESER Program coordinates the Midwinter Raptor Count on and around the INL. Counters tally not just eagles, but all birds of prey, as well as ravens and shrikes.

The 2006 INL Raptor Count was conducted on January 13th. The totals of bird counted are as follows: Rough-legged hawk (288), Raven (142), Golden Eagle (16), Bald Eagle (6), Unidentified Eagle (2), Northern Shrike (1), Prairie Falcon (1), American Kestrel (3), Red-tailed Hawk (1), Great Horned Owl (2), Ferruginous Hawk (1), and Magpie (18). Rough-legged hawk, raven, all eagles and magpies were observed in numbers greater than the average and substantially higher than last year.                             Compare this count with past years

Summer Big Game Count - The INL, serves as important winter range to thousands of pronghorn antelope and hundreds of mule deer and elk. These big game animals freely move between the desert and the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Semi-annual aerial surveys of big game species are conducted in January and June. ESER biologists conduct aerial surveys of the INL from a small airplane flown at half-mile intervals. During the 2005 summer count, 162 pronghorn, 142 elk, and 29 mule deer were observed.        
              Compare this count with past years

2005 Breeding Bird Survey - Annual breeding bird surveys have been conducted on the INL since 1985 to monitor changes in bird populations. Surveys were conducted during 2005 from June 3-27. A total of 6,726 individuals representing 71 species of birds were recorded along 14 permanent routes on the INL. Horned lark (N=2077), western meadowlark (N=1087), Brewerís sparrow
(N=661), sage thrasher (N=598), and sage sparrow (N=389) continue to be the top five most abundant species on the INL. American white pelican, rough-legged hawk, and canvasback were recorded this year for the first time during these surveys. Species with a state rank of rare or uncommon, imperiled, or critically imperiled recorded in 2005 include American white pelican (N=6), ferruginous hawk (N=15), long-billed curlew (N=9), Franklinís gull (N=123), ring-billed gull (N=2), western burrowing owl (N=4), loggerhead shrike (N=40), northern mockingbird (N=1), and lark bunting (N=4).                          
For More Information

INL Species Lists - Five fish, one amphibian, nine reptile, 159 bird, and 37 mammal species have been documented to occur on the INL in southeastern Idaho.  An additional nine fish, five amphibian, five reptile, 13 bird, and 14 mammal species were listed as possibly occurring, because portions of their range overlap the INL area, or they have been reported within 30 km of the site.  Lists of INL vertebrates can be found on the ESER website at http://www.stoller-eser.com/species_index.htm


National Environmental Education Week - April 16-22 - National Environmental Education Week will involve thousands of educators and millions of students. Stoller's ESER Program and the Idaho Falls Earth Day committee will join forces to participate in National Environmental Education Week. Classroom and group presentations will be available, free of charge. This year's featured presentations will be:  Paper or Plastic (a guide for making environmental choices), Comparing Energy Sources, and Biodiversity.                                                                    For More Information

Rocky Mountain Adventure science camp for kids - Students in grades 4 - 9 will investigate southeastern Idaho's forest, marsh, stream and desert habitats and develop an excitement for science through hands-on experiences during this week-long camp sponsored by ESER and the Museum of Idaho.  The Rocky Mountain Adventure will be held June 12-16, 2006, from 8:00 - 3:00 daily.  Registration fee will be $75.00. For more information, please contact the Museum of Idaho programs@museumofidaho.org  or Alana Jensen, ajensen@stoller.com

Rocky Mountain Adventures for teachers (July 17--20 and July 24-27)  - Teachers' workshops for  ISU credit are sponsored by the ESER Program, Sawtooth Science Institute, and the Museum of Idaho.  These workshops will investigate southeastern Idaho's major habitats in four two-day sessions.  Cost per session is $120.  For more information, please contact the Sawtooth Science Institute  http://imnh.isu.edu/ssi/  or Alana Jensen, ajensen@stoller.com

Nature Probe website -
Idaho Nature Probe is a free, web-based, interactive project designed to engage students and citizen scientists in authentic scientific processes. The website, created in partnership between ESER, Wildlife Conservation Society, Idaho NatureMapping and Idaho Fish and Game, connects Idaho students and scientists and provides a resource to Idaho teachers in fulfilling the State science standards .                               For More Information


Linking Landscape Disturbance to the Population Ecology of Great Basin Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) in the Upper Snake River Plain - Sagebrush steppe ecosystems throughout the Great Basin and Interior Columbia Basin are experiencing widespread landscape conversion due to livestock overgrazing, invasive plants, and fire. Previous studies have documented the effects of landscape conversion on birds and mammals but there is little information on the effects on reptiles. The Great Basin rattlesnake is a good species to study the potential influence of landscape conversion on reptiles because they are widely distributed, sympatric with many other species of reptiles, move long distances relative to other reptiles, and have life histories that are sensitive to variation in prey availability.                                  See Full Report

Report by Christopher L. Jenkins and Charles R. Peterson, Herpetology Laboratory Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University for Idaho Bureau of Land Management.

Conservation Management Plan Document Catalog - Many ecological research projects have been conducted on the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) since 1950. These data provide a valuable research tool to researchers desiring to conduct ecological investigations on the INL or similar habitats. To search the 1000+ documents in the document catalog, go to http://www.stoller-eser.com/CMP/Document_search.asp