Multi-species Baseline Initiative

Why a Multi-Species Baseline Initiative?

The world is changing fast and natural resource managers are facing a new age. Gone are the days when the wildlife manager's only job was tracking harvest rates and setting next years big game season. Today's wildlife manger is faced with issues our predecessors may never have imagined. Urban development, changes in the power grid, and climate change are just some of the issues that make a natural resource managers head spin.

Will a new subdivision leave enough room for songbirds to nest? How will a new wind turbine affect bat migration? What's a sustainable way we can maintain tree harvest while leaving a buffer zone for snails to adapt to climate change? Should fishers be listed as an endangered species or should we open a trapping season?


These are the types of questions that come across our desks at IDFG every day. Sometimes we know the answer, but all too often we just don't have the data we need to make an informed decision. It's not unusual for us to only have a vague idea about the status of the population in question and, in some cases, it's been decades since the species in question has even been documented to occur in Idaho.

How can we be expected to make the best decisions for species conservation and land management if we don't even know if the species is present on the landscape?

With the exception of game and some endangered species, there's not a lot of money available for inventory and monitoring of species. Correctly identifying specimens and cataloguing species occurrence data is highly specialized work. Protocols to conduct field surveys for different species tend to occur at different times of the year and are highly specialized as well.

The challenges to getting the data we need to make informed natural resource management decisions are intimidating, but not insurmountable. It would be easy to throw up our hands and say, 'it's too hard and it can't be done'.

EASY isn't what MBI is after. Instead of seeing obstacles, MBI seizes opportunity.


MBI is a forward looking group of partners that is dedicated to providing a comprehensive data set of occurrence data for a variety of wildlife species in the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges. We inventory a variety of taxa groups including amphibians, beetles, forest carnivores, slugs, and snails. Our main focus is inventory of 20 Species of Greatest Conservation Need listed in State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP): 

MBI is implementing State Wildlife Action Plan recommended conservation actions for 20 Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Wood Frog Rana sylvatica
CDA Salamander Plethodon idahoensis
Northern Leopard Frog Rana pipiens
Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum
Western Toad Anaxyrus boreas
GASTROPODS (slugs & snails)
An Oregonian Cryptomastix mullani blandi
Fir Pinwheel Radiodiscus abietum
Humped Coin Polygyrella polygyrella
Kingston Oregonian Cryptomastix sanburni
Lyre Mantleslug Udosarx lyrata
Magnum Mantleslug Magnipelta mycophaga
Pale Jumping Slug Hemphillia camelus
Sheathed Slug Zacoleus idahoensis
Thinlip Tightcoil Pristiloma idahoense
Blue-grey Taildropper Prophysaon coeruleum
Smoky Taildropper Prophysaon coeruleum
Fisher Martes pennanti
Lynx Lynx canadensis
Wolverine Gulo gulo


Because both Idaho and Washington have committed to including climate change in the next SWAP revision we are taking the innovative approach of co-locating climate monitoring stations with SGCN survey plots. This micro-climate data will provide a baseline of climatic regimes necessary for management of different suites of species.

North Idaho and northeastern Washington are working landscapes. They are not national parks or wilderness areas. They are places where people live, work, and play. Our goal is to provide standardized information for a suite of species so that we can continue to hike, hunt, log, plant, ride, ski, watch wildlife, and just enjoy the land we love. Our goal is to develop a data set that will help us use our land without abusing our land.

MBI’s strong partnerships and contributors have enabled a massive survey effort from 2010-11.  In each yellow and purple 5x5 km cell MBI co-located a climate monitoring station with a summer survey for beetles, gastropods, and forest carnivores. In each purple cell, MBI has established a winter forest carnivore monitoring bait station.



Partner Organizations Funding Organizations
British Columbia Ministry of the Environment Colville National Forest
Bureau of Land Management Idaho Panhandle National Forest
Coeur d'Alene Tribe   Laughing Dog Brewery
Colville National Forest Oregon Zoo Future for Wildlife Grants Program
Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness US Fish and Wildlife Service
Idaho Conservation League USFS Rocky Moutain Research Station
Idaho Department of Fish and Game Zoo Boise Conservation Fund
Idaho Panhandle National Forest  
Kalispel Tribe  
Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education  
Seepanee Ecological Consulting  
University of Idaho (amphibians & beetles)  
USFS Air Temperature Project  
USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station  
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife  
Vital Ground  



What's New

MBI Surveys Initiate Conservation Action

Northern leopard frogs haven't been detected in the Idaho Panhandle since 1955. 2013-14 MBI surveys did not detect this species indicating it is no longer extant in the Idaho Panhandle. MBI surveys did detect non-native bullfrogs though...which may pose a threat to a rare colony of northern leopard frogs located in British Columbia only about 20 km from breeding bullfrog sites. On June 29 partner organizations from Idaho and British Columbia got together to map the current distribution of bullfrogs on the American side of the border.

Idaho Fish and Game Locates Grasshopper for First Time in 17 Years

The Idaho Point-headed Grasshopper (Acrolophitus pulchellus) was found in eastern Idaho for the first time in 17 years. In 2010, IDFG Wildlife Diversity Biologist Beth Waterbury led an effort to search for the species which had not been found since 1993. Efforts of other researchers in 2002 and 2003 failed to document the species leading to speculation that it may be extinct. Undaunted, Waterbury and her team set out to the field in 2010 and captured 55 individuals of this species from 13 localities.

$10 an hour to sort leaf litter in November

Earn some extra cash helping us with the final leaf litter sorting push. The work will be from November 10-14 in Coeur d' Alene.

Apply directly to Humanix Coeur d' Alene. (208) 664-8958

Going on a Snail Search! (#1677)

Last Updated: 2014-10-29
Job Ref #: 1677
Location: Coeur d'Alene, ID
Status: Position Available
Type: Temporary
Salary: $10 hr plus a completion bonus!

FY14 MBI Match Report

Big news, we have exceeded our federal match requirement for our Competitive State Wildlife Grant just 2 years into the 3 year grant! Thanks to the contributions of over a dozen partners, some hard core wildlife biology interns, and hundreds of citizen naturalists we have exceeded our $702,290 non-federal match requirement by $66,581.

Download the full match report here.

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