2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 97-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

SUSTAINABLE CAVE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN A POST-WNS WORLD: A PRACTICAL WORKSHOP FOR LAND MANAGERS

GILLESPIE, Dianne, National Cave and Karst Research Institute, 400-1 Cascades Avenue, Carlsbad, NM 88220, dgillespie@nckri.org, SANDENO, Cynthia M., U S National Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest, 200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, WV 26241, and HILDRETH-WERKER, Val, National Speleological Society, Conservation Division, Cuna Cueva Highway 27, Hillsboro, NM 88042

Cave and karst resources are complex systems that require a thorough working knowledge of multiple scientific disciplines for effective management. Management strategies, outlined in the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act (Public Law 100-691), to maintain or restore the integrity of cave and karst systems requires an understanding of their ecological significance, their surface and subsurface interconnectivity, and partnership cultivation. White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a new and rapidly spreading wildlife disease responsible for unprecedented mortality of bats hibernating in caves and mines, in North America. WNS generates new challenges for land managers and resource manageability. Federal agencies have isued visitation closures of caves and mines in many regions to mitigate the spread of WNS and have co-developed the National WNS Management PLan to initiate a coordinated management approach. Implementing this plan increases the necessity for resource managers, which has resulted in tasking existing staff, many without cave and karst knowledge, to make decisions about these complex resources. This knowledge void creates the need for a new era of effective cave management training.

Paradoxically, visitation closures increase both cave protection and vulnerability. In essence, volunteers assisting with cave resource managment are currently restricted from the resource. Understanding this paradox, the US Forest Service, the National Speleological Society Conservation Division, and the National Cave and Karst Research Institute jointly designed the US Forest Service Cave and Karst Resource Management Training. Focusing on the essentials of cave resource management and using a combination of classroom and field instruction, the initial workshop was conducted in cooperation with the Monongahela National Forest in Elkins, West Virgiia, June 2011. Pre-and post-surveys were adminstered to capture attitudes on knowledge, practicality, and network expansion. These surveys indicate that 94-100% of the participants acknowledged an increase in their cave and karst knowledge base and agreed to continue contact with fellow particpants, establising this workshop as a viable model for further development of this course.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 97--Booth# 53
Geoscience Education (Posters) II
Minneapolis Convention Center: Hall C
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 253

© Copyright 2011 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.