2019 season update from the Cascades Wolverine Project

2019 season update from the Cascades Wolverine Project

Conservation Northwest / Mar 20, 2019 / North Cascades, Wildlife Monitoring, Wolverine

Captivating wildlife photos are a strong start to the winter season for our partners at the Cascades Wolverine Project.

Photos and text by david moskowitz, cascades wolverine project

*Editor’s Note: David is a longtime Conservation Northwest colleague and contractor, including advising our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project. Conservation Northwest is proud to be a partner and sponsor of the Cascades Wolverine Project, a grassroots effort to support wolverine research and recovery in Washington’s North Cascades through field science, visual storytelling, and building backcountry community science.

A wolverine caught on camera during the previous field season of the Cascades Wolverine Project.

It’s been a good winter thus far for the Cascades Wolverine Project. We’re well into our second field season, and currently have seven installations running in three different watersheds in the North Cascades. We already have one wolverine detection!

We launched a new website and are working diligently to increase our outreach to the winter recreation community to help educate folks on the ecology of wolverines. We’re also providing them with opportunities to engage in citizen science by reporting potential wolverine tracks they might find while out in the North Cascades.

We’ve made some great progress already this season, but we’re still fundraising to help cover our costs for winter field work and enhance resources for citizen scientists hoping to contribute to wolverine conservation in the mountains so many of us love.

If you’re interested in supporting our work, please consider making a donation to the project!

Studying Wolverines

Wolverine tracks.

There’s still so much to be learned about wolverines, but because they live in remote, rugged terrain, it’s difficult to study them. By using remote camera installations to document these incredibly rare carnivores, we’re trying to answer basic questions about their ecology, including their distribution, abundance and habitat relations.

In addition to partnering with Conservation Northwest, we collaborate with the Cascades Carnivore Project and biologists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service by sharing our data.

During our first winter season, we documented wolverines at three monitoring stations, connected with the backcountry ski community through public talks and social media, and provided high-quality wildlife photography to increase wolverine awareness, science and conservation in the North Cascades.

To help us meet our goals for the second winter season, which currently only has half its necessary funding, please consider making a contribution today! You can make a donation through Conservation Northwest—just enter “Cascades Wolverine Project” into the comment box. Alternatively, you can contribute to our GoFundMe page.

2019 Winter Season

Here are a few photos from the field this winter including a “sneak-peak” at our first wolverine detection. Stay tuned for more images of this beautiful animal and other adventures of ours from the field!

An American marten peers quizzically at our camera trap. These smaller cousins of the wolverine are common at most of our camera installations here in the North Cascades.
In January, we got our first wolverine detection for the winter and some of the best photos yet for the project! This station is in the Early Winters Creek watershed, west of the Methow Valley on the east slope of the North Cascades. We suspect this is the same female wolverine we captured on camera last winter at a different installation in this same watershed.
Project leader Steph Williams climbs a tree to suspend bait out of reach from critters at our camera traps. Mountain guide and avalanche-forecaster Drew Lovell helps set the lighting for this installation close to Holden Village.
Wolverine tracks close to one of our new camera installations west of Lake Chelan.
Drew Lovell digs a snow pit to make observations on snowpack conditions at around 6500′ in the North Cascades. Deep snow that persists into spring is required for wolverines to make their dens.
Steph Williams presents on the biology of North Cascades wolverines at Holden Village Retreat Center.
In February, Mountain guide and wolverine-lover Forest McBrian volunteered for a week to help us service our camera traps…and get in a little backcountry skiing.
Steph Williams, Drew Lovell, and David Moskowitz captured on our camera trap right after installing it west of Lake Chelan in late January.