Status of Nutria (Myocastor coypus) Populations in the Pacific Northwest and Development of Associated Control and Management Strategies, with an Emphasis on Metropolitan Habitats [report]

Trevor Sheffels
2000 unpublished
The nutria (Myocastor coypus) is a semi-aquatic rodent native to South America that was introduced to the Pacific Northwest, USA, in the 1930s. Primary damage categories from this invasive species include burrowing and herbivory, resulting in habitat degradation. Nutria have become well-established in metropolitan habitats, and anecdotal information suggests the problem has increased in recent years. However, little regional research on the species has been conducted. The scope of this
more » ... which emphasizes metropolitan habitats, includes three primary foci in relation to nutria populations in the Pacific Northwest: modeling habitat suitability, assessing activity and movement patterns, and identifying and managing negative impacts. Large-scale management of any invasive species requires understanding of the current and potential future population distribution. Cold temperatures have been assumed to be a limiting factor for the geographic distribution of nutria populations, but this assumption had not been explicitly tested. A mechanistic habitat suitability model based on winter temperatures performed well in predicting nutria distribution in the Pacific Northwest and nationally. Regional results suggest nutria currently occupy most accessible suitable habitat. However, coupling the model with future climate change data suggests a much larger suitable habitat zone regionally and nationally in the near future. Management of an invasive species on a local scale requires region-specific information about behavior patterns. Radio-telemetry tracking of local nutria populations in metropolitan habitats suggested higher diurnal activity levels than reported elsewhere.
doi:10.15760/etd.665 fatcat:cra3qenqgre2fdhakzd5frsuei