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I-90 monitoring field report

Posted by Hailey Starr at Sep 23, 2013 11:00 AM |
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Washington's first wildlife crossing overpass will be implemented along I-90 east of Lake Keechelus. In order to understand how this new overpass will effect species in the area, we must first understand what species are present. That's where Conservation Northwest and our camera monitoring crews come in!

I-90 monitoring field report

Installing cameras to monitor wildlife is part science, part hiking, part nose-holding, and all fun. Join a winter crew this year!

Washington's first wildlife crossing overpass will be implemented along I-90 east of Lake Keechelus. In order to understand how this new overpass will effect species in the area, we must first understand what species are present. That's where Conservation Northwest and our camera monitoring crews come in!

This summer, the Price/Noble camera monitoring crew installed new cameras north and south of where the new overpass will be constructed. Rachel Hopkins and I went on an exploration to find best places to install these cameras.

After rummaging through the forest we found the spots: one near a creek and the other near a wetland. And boy was the wetland rich with 'skeeters! All sites showed prominent signs of wildlife use in the area, especially near the wetland.

Rachel Hopkins after installing a camera
Rachel Hopkins after installing a camera

For Rachel this was her first time out on a remote camera monitoring crew. She was impressed with the training that Conservation Northwest provided and was thankful for knowledgeable staff. She truly enjoyed the experience, "I was grateful for the opportunity to participate directly in efforts that support biodiversity in my community. And, it's always fun to tromp around in the wilderness and learn new things."

For me I came into this group having had experience deploying and servicing game cameras with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) as their habitat connectivity research intern. WSDOT's and Conservation Northwest's camera deployment methods differed slightly, in the way that Conservation Northwest uses lure to attract wildlife to the camera. Both Rachel and I had not handled lure before and was surprised by the smell and potency. We were so careful with handling it, but somehow I still got some on my back pack.

By the end of the day we smelled rich of bug spray with our noses stained by the smell of lure. However, satisfied with a good day's work and excitement to see what gets caught on camera!

By the summer's end we caught lots of great critters on our cams. From bobcat, to elk, to black bear. Must say it was a great summer! You can see some of the remote camera captures on the Conservation Northwest Flickr feed.

If you love the outdoors and want to get experience monitoring wildlife, join an upcoming snow tracking team. 
Hailey and Rachel from the animal's perspective
Hailey and Rachel from the animal's perspective
Rachel applying lure on a log across from a camera
Rachel applying lure on a log across from a camera
Black bear from monitoring camera
Black bear from monitoring camera
Bobcat caught on camera
Bobcat caught on camera
Elk at night
Elk at night

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