Winter wildlife tracking season underway

Winter wildlife tracking season underway

Conservation Northwest / Jan 18, 2018 / Wildlife Crossings, Wildlife Monitoring

By Laurel Baum, Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project Coordinator

Winter is here in the Cascade Mountains and our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project volunteer teams are out documenting wildlife along Interstate 90!

Snow tracking volunteers receive training on track and sign identification from Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project staff. Photo: Laurel Baum

In addition to our annual remote camera field season, which typically runs from spring through fall with some sites operating through the winter, we conduct winter snowtracking transects along I-90 between Snoqualmie Pass and Easton. Monitoring for tracks, sign, carcasses and other evidence of animal presence, this program helps acquire citizen-science data on wildlife movement to inform nearby wildlife crossing projects and our I-90 Wildlife Corridor Campaign.

To kick off our 2018 snowtracking season, we recently held a successful training at the Wilderness Awareness School. We have 49 volunteers involved this season, making up ten teams.  One of our project goals is to observe the behavior and presence of wildlife species in key habitat connectivity areas near where wildlife crossings are completed, under construction, or planned for construction as part of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project.

While most of the migratory mule deer and elk that travel through this corridor have by now moved on to their winter ranges, species commonly documented by our snowtracking program include coyotes, bobcats, martens and beavers. Someday soon we hope to confirm wolverines, fishers or wolves traveling through this snow-covered landscape.

Laurel gives volunteers an overview on the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project winter snowtracking program at Wilderness Awareness School. Photo: David Moskowitz

THANK YOU to our volunteers, team leads, and supporters who make this important work possible! Special thanks to the Deacon Charitable Foundation and Lucky Seven Foundation for supporting the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project this year!

And stay tuned, the report from our 2017 Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project remote camera field season will be completed soon. This annual report is shared with our advisory agencies, partners, independent scientists and our volunteers as well as made available on our project webpage.