Multi-Species Baseline Initiative

The Multi-Species Baseline Initiative (MBI) is a collaborative of organizations that monitor wildlife and microclimate across the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges.

From 2010-2014 MBI partners co-located microclimate data loggers with wildlife field surveys across the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges. Our surveys prioritized amphibians, terrestrial gastropods, and forest carnivores identified as 'lacking essential information'  in Idaho or Washington 2005 State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP). Our efficient multi-species surveys enabled the collection of standardized data for 182 species of plants and animals at 2,315 locations. We established micro-climate data loggers at 1,169 of those sites which collected air or water temperature data for 1-4 years. Over 500 people, including 200 volunteer citizen naturalists, contributed to this project. Our baseline dataset informed the 2015 SWAP revisions and is the beginning of a long term regional multi-taxa monitoring program.

Key Findings (2010-2014)

  • Standardized surveys at 2,315 sites detected 182 species.
  • From 2005 to 2015 the mean NatureServe Idaho subnational conservation status rank (S-rank) of target species increased by 1.4.
  • From 2005-2015 our understanding of landscape level species occurrence changed for each of the 19 target SGCN.
  • From 2005 to 2015 the mean Idaho S-rank of target invertebrate increased by 2.3.
  • From 2005 to 2015 mean Idaho S-rank of target vertebrates decreased by 0.4.
  • Invertebrate status tended to increase with additional survey effort and vertebrates either stayed the same or decreased slightly.      
  • Cryptomasitx mullani blandi: We provide evidence this trinomial should never have been considered a distinct taxonomic unit.
  • Cryptomastix sanburni and Magnipelta mycophaga, both considered possibly extinct in 2005, were detected at multiple sites.
  • Evidence supporting a new species of Hemphillia is provided.
  • Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) were never extant in Idaho.
  • Northern leopard frogs (Rana lithobates) are native to northern Idaho and appear to be extirpated.
  • Western toads (Anaxyrus boreas) within the study area are appropriately taxonomically classified.
  • Western toads were more abundant in the Selkirks than other portions of the study area.
  • Tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) were likely never extant in the Idaho Panhandle.
  • Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is widespread at low concentrations across the study area.
  • We detected 46 individual fishers (Pekania pennanti ) (25 males, 20 females, 1 unknown gender).
  • Fishers are more abundant in the West Cabinet Mountains than the remainder of the study area.
  • The 'native' fisher Haplotype 12 was not detected.
  • 5 individual (2 males, 3 females) Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) were detected.
  • 3 individual male wolverines were detected.
  • Arboreal mammal species richness, particularly American marten (Martes americana), is lowest in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains.
  • Mean 2013 annual air temperature of survey sites in was 6.17°C.
  • Mean 2013 annual wetland water temperature was 5.88°C.
  • A cool air refugium is identified in the Selkirk Mountains.
  • Four terrestrial gastropods are associate with cooler than average mean air temperatures.
  • The majority of terrestrial gastropods are found across a wide range of mean air temperatures.
  • Most target 'rare' terrestrial gastropods were relatively abundant with 4 of the 8 most commonly detected gastropods being target 'rare' species.

Target Species

Wood Frog Rana sylvatica
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 humile
Fisher Pekania pennanti
Canada Lynx Lynx canadensis
Wolverine Gulo gulo


Project Report 2010-2014
September, 2016 Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Written and compiled by Michael Lucid, Lacy Robinson, Shannon Ehlers

  Download Full Report pdf 203mb


  1. MBI Summary and Project Overview pdf 1.5 mb
  2. Gastropods pdf 79mb
  3. Amphibians pdf 16mb
  4. Carnivores pdf 23mb
  5. Microclimate pdf 3mb
  6. Opportunistic Species pdf 70mb


  1. Competitive State Wildlife Grant Reporting pdf 9mb
  2. Gastropod Supplemental Material pdf 0.5mb
  3. Amphibian Supplemental Material pdf 2mb
  4. Carnivore Supplemental Material pdf 1mb
  5. Microclimate Supplemental Material pdf 0.3mb



Multi-species Baseline Initiative Overview

MBI is a collaborative of organizations conducting wildlife and micro-climate surveys across the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges.

MBI Wednesday

Each Wednesday MBI field crews have a shift change. Those who worked 8 days get 6 days off and those who were off start working. This schedule allows technicians to share vehicles and equipment...and save precious dollars for wildlife conservation.

MBI Forest Inventory and Analysis Collaboration

Since 1930 the US Forest Service has been monitoring vegetation at Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots across the United States. In 2013 Idaho Fish and Game reached an agreement with the Forest Service to conduct wildlife and climate surveys on these plots. This collaboration will enable more informed forest management and is the first of its kind in the Intermountain West.

MBI Citizen Naturalist

During the winter of 2011-2012 140 volunteer 'Citizen Naturalists' contributed over 2,000 hours of labor to the MBI Forest Carnivore Survey. This has inspired us to find new ways to involve local community members in wildlife research and use this incredible work force to reach project goals.