Kassandra Townsend

Graduate Researcher   return to map   return to student search


Nampa, ID (Canyon County)


University of Idaho
Graduate student
Natural Resources

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Funded by EPSCoR Award:

MILES | IIA-1301792

Research Location(s):

southwest Idaho

COUNTIES:  Ada, Elmore

LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT(S):  District 22, District 23

Research Statement:

Kassandra Townsend, a former Idaho EPSCoR MILES Undergraduate Research and Internships (MURI) Program student, was one of two students from University of Idaho to earn an Honorable Mention in the Udall Scholarship 2019 competition. Udall Scholarships and Honorable Mentions are awarded to students based on their commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. Townsend is currently a PhD student in Natural Resources at the University of Idaho.

Research Impact:

Townsend’s previous EPSCoR MILES research in summer 2017 with Dr. Steve Alsup, Wildlife Biologist, Birds of Prey, included evaluation of factors that affect the habitat suitability of nesting ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) in southwestern, ID. The research team utilized diverse field techniques and geospatial analyses to quantify and test the relative impacts of variables associated with habitat, fire regimes, human disturbance and environmental contaminants. The goal of this project was to explore the influences of habitat attributes, nest site characteristics, and human disturbance on ferruginous hawk site occupancy and breeding success. To achieve this goal, the team developed a sustainable long-term nest monitoring program (partnering with BLM, USFWS, USGS, Birds of Prey Partnership, and College of Western Idaho) that collects baseline data on the ecology and population demography of breeding ferruginous hawks.