Notes From the Field

Central Wasatch Mammal Camera Study

The Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab at the University of Utah and Wild Utah Project, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Utah and Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands, developed a new citizen science program where volunteers can take ownership of 3 field sites by maintaining, monitoring, and rotating the location of a motion-sensing camera in the Central Wasatch, assist with animal identification in photos, and contribute to an online database in an effort to fill critical data gaps in our understanding of native wildlife populations and their distribution and movement in regards to human influences on the landscape along the Wild-Urban-Interface. Participants in the study attended a formal indoor/outdoor training on April 28th at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Rotation 1 of 3 in this year’s field season has been completed with 100% of the camera’s successfully installed and participation of over 120 volunteers. Rotation 2 is now underway! Thank you to all of the citizen scientists and partners who have made this first field season possible. See the most recent photos and update on this Facebook post by our partners at the Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab.

Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment Training at Hardware Ranch 

Earlier this month Wild Utah Project, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Trout Unlimited and about a dozen Citizen Scientists returned from a successful field training at Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area outside Logan Utah.  The goals of the training were two-fold: 1) to train UDWR and Trout Unlimited staff and interns in the Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment Protocol, 2) to train-up Citizen volunteers in the use of this protocol as well, so they can assist UDWR and Trout Unlimited as they use their training throughout the UDWR’s Northern Region this season to conduct RSRA assessments on streams slated to receive Beaver Dam Analogues.  It’s important to collect ‘pre-BDA’ information on the current state of stream and riparian function before the human-created analogues are installed, so the same method can be used a year or two later to collect needed proof-of-concept data to demonstrate the restorative powers of the BDAs as they raise the water table with a predicted cascade of associated benefits to the stream/riparian system.  Even better, well-placed analogues can smoothly pave the way for natural recolonization or introduction of beaver to continue to keep up the dams.  Click here for the Facebook album of this great Citizen Science Training, and a huge THANK YOU to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for hosting the training at Hardware Ranch.

Welcome Janice Gardner and Daniel Johnson!

  • Welcome to our newest staff member – Conservation Ecologist Janice Gardner! We are thrilled to announce the addition to our staff this month of Conservation Ecologist Janice Gardner.  After earning her B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire and M.S. in Ecology and Environmental Science from the University of Maine, she has held positions as biologist and project manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and most recently in environmental consulting. Janice specializes in environmental regulations and management of special-status species. As our new Conservation Ecologist for Wild Utah Project, Janice provides technical assessments for various wildlife research and monitoring projects, state and federal actions, and natural resource planning. Janice also serves on local wildlife working groups, engages with partnership organizations, and supports our citizen science programs.  See Janice’s staff page here.  Welcome to the team, Janice!

  • Welcome also to summer Ecological Field Intern Daniel Johnson.We are also pleased to welcome Daniel Johnson, our summer Ecological Field Intern. Daniel is an undergraduate at Utah State University working toward a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and set to graduate next spring. He is active in the student chapter of the Wildlife Society, having served as both Public Relations Chair and Vice President.  He spent two summers working for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as a wildlife technician, where he conducted American pika habitat occupancy surveys, bird point counts, white pelican live-trapping, and boreal toad surveys. Daniel served eight years in the Army Reserves, and enjoys a challenging field environment.  Daniel is assisting us this summer with ‘pre beaver/dam analogue’ stream & riparian assessments, boreal toad surveys, a wildlife camera study, and a meta-analysis of the effects of pinyon juniper treatments, which will help fill a big hole in the ecological literature.

Kim Howes