FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Report released on citizen monitoring effort in the Cascades
Thousands of images of wildlife captured on camera by citizen volunteers this spring and summer
Announcing the release of the Cascades Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Report for 2008 remote camera work in the Cascades.
This year, three organizations joined forces to form the Cascades Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project. This effort trained over 50 volunteers to install and maintain remote cameras in Washington's Cascade mountains during spring and summer of this year. The goals of the project are to engage and educate citizens in wildlife science, record wildlife presence at key connectivity locations along the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, record the presence of rare and sensitive wildlife throughout Washington's Central and North Cascades, and coordinate communications and data between interested parties.
In a report released today, an analysis of the thousands of photographic images captured by 43 cameras this season is provided. The images documented the diversity of species along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 90 and in important habitat areas on public lands of the Cascades. Locations of cameras ranged north from Manastash Ridge by Ellensburg to the Iron Gate entrance to the Pasayten Wilderness near the Canadian border, and covered both the east and west side of the Cascade Crest.
"The real highlight of the season was that the first photograph of an adult wolf was reported in May, and was followed by images of wolf pups in July," said Project Coordinator Marlo Mytty of Conservation Northwest. "The images are a testament to the value of citizen science when it is well planned, supported, and coordinated with government agencies."
The cameras in landscapes of the Cascades further removed from roads and disturbance not only documented the first resident wild wolf (Canis lupus) pack in Washington since the 1930s, but also a lynx (Lynx canadensis) in the Pasayten wilderness, and a Cascades red fox (Vulpes vulpes cascadensis) in the Teanaway landscape.
Project volunteer Ann Smull commented, "I feel lucky that I got to witness incredibly beautiful spots in Washington off the beaten path that I'd never seen before. Getting to know the other volunteers on our hike and back at camp was so much fun, and of course I got to pat myself on the back for helping the wildlife in my area."
The report also details the results of the seven cameras along Interstate 90 just east of Snoqualmie Pass that all shared an objective of documenting wildlife in this critical habitat connectivity and wildlife passage area. Cameras were located strategically near proposed crossing structure investments of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project. Species recorded included deer, elk, cougar, bobcat, coyote, and black bear.
"The wildlife recorded at the I-90 locations were a real expression of the need for the proposed wildlife crossing structures in the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project," said Jen Watkins Project Director of I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition and Conservation Northwest. "Specifically in the forest island in the middle of the east and west bound lanes of I-90 at Easton, the case for the proposed over and underpass was made clear by the photographs of elk and deer that we kept getting."
The program's calendar and data were affected by record, heavy snowfalls late in the season that resulted in many cameras being placed out later than planned, especially in high-elevation locations. Volunteers are celebrating the release of the report tonight in Seattle at a release event.
"It feels great to be part of a volunteer group of people who, like myself, want to monitor wildlife species to conserve and protect both the species themselves and their habitat. Even if my camera only picks up a random deer crossing, I feel like my team has been a success since it our first time around and we are learning - and it is impetus to continue the camera monitoring in the future," said Stevens Pass team leader Rachel Hulscher.
The report summarizes and discusses the results from all 43 locations. It includes sample photos and videos from each camera and provides further background on the project.
Read the report.
Digital formatted photographs and videos in higher resolution are available by request from firstname.lastname@example.org