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

2014 Summer Interns Needed for Wolf Monitoring

Two interns are needed June through August to assist with monitoring and research of wolves in the Idaho Panhandle. Interns will assist in the following activities: maintaining remote cameras, collecting scat samples for DNA analysis, and monitoring radio-collared wolves via ground telemetry. Interns will work 10 days on/4 days off and will be provided a field vehicle, remote housing (running water, but no cell service or internet), and a food stipend of $500/month.

Another Wolverine Detection in the Joe

The tough-as-nails IDFG bait station crew just got back from an 8 day hitch in GMU7 - the upper reaches of the Saint Joe River drainage. Their hitch began with the thermometer at -20F...and ended in the rain. They took on the worst of what a north Idaho winter could throw at them and it paid off with nice images and great samples from this wolverine! Thanks to the crew for toughing it out for wildlife!

Lynx Captured in West Cabinet Mountains

Two trapping partners had a trapline of only two bobcat traps in the Idaho Panhandle's West Cabinet Mountains. They had each set one trap. Imagine their surprise on January 29 when they walked up to the first set and discovered, not a bobcat, but a lynx in the trap. The trappers knew just what to do. They called Idaho Fish and Game to report the non-target capture.

Coons in the Coeur d' Alenes

For the first time we had racoons visit one of our bait stations. This pair of coons was found in a remote portion of the Coeur d' Alene Mountains, near the Montana border, at about 3,000 feet in elevation. We have now had a total of 28 species visit our bait stations.

Fall Mushrooms

One of the things I love most about hunting is slowing down and focusing completely on my immediate surroundings. My senses are totally focused on the task at hand and the forest around me...which sets me up perfectly to find great mushrooms to cook up back at camp!

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