2018 Field Season Wrap-up
Our inaugural season of the Central Wasatch mammal trail camera study was a huge success! We’d like to thank our partners at the Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab at the University of Utah, Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands, and our volunteer citizen scientists. Together we installed and maintained over 200 camera stations across the Central Wasatch Mountains. Many volunteers will continue to support the study by sorting wildlife photos using the online platform, eMammal. The data will be shared with state and federal wildlife management agencies to inform conservation planning for the mammal communities of the Central Wasatch.
2018 marks our 5th year conducting boreal toad and aquatic habitat assessments as a collaboration with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Utah Geologic Survey, and the Hogle Zoo. The assessment field protocols are implemented by trained volunteer citizen scientists in coordination with Hogle Zoo. Volunteers visited 25 sites up to 3 times each, contributing over 500 hours of service in 2018. This project continues to aid local wildlife managers in understanding the current occupied range for this rare species in the Wasatch mountains, and importantly, informs potential sites for much needed boreal toad reintroduction. In addition, our annual surveys contribute to a state-wide effort to better understand aquatic habitats and amphibian indicator species; for example, our data goes to the Utah Geological Survey and will be used to inform a new state-wide amphibian habitat model.
It’s been a productive season for our Stream and Riparian Restoration Program! We kicked off the field season back in the Sheeprock Mountains, where, in 2017, we assessed Vernon Creek with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and a team of volunteer citizen scientists in order to record the functional state of the stream before installing Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs or human made beaver dams). In May, we built the last of the dams using citizen science power. We’ll return next year for assessments of ecological and habitat improvements post-BDA installation.
This summer, we again trained partners with UDWR and more volunteers in the Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment Protocol, this time up at Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area. Then Wild Utah Project staff, interns, and volunteers coordinated with UDWR and our partner, Trout Unlimited, to complete more pre-BDA stream assessments on East Canyon Creek and Fish Creek in the Weber Watershed, and North Eden Creek east of Bear Lake. Now that we have the baseline data, we are preparing to install even more BDAs on those streams this Fall and next spring.
Notes from the GIS Lab: Western U.S ‘Outstanding Waters’ Analysis
Our GIS Lab recently conducted a mapping project that identifies existing and potential streams and wetlands that qualify as ‘Outstanding Natural Resource Waters’ under the EPA designation in the Clean Water Act (National and state waters of exceptional recreational or ecological significance). We gathered, curated, and analyzed datasets across five western states for the conservation organization, Western Resource Advocates. The results of this effort are featured in a customized web-based mapping application developed by Wild Utah Project’s GIS team, which will enable the identification of important water resource designations as well as conditions, and - importantly - will help our partners identify priority areas for future management and conservation of water resources.
Welcome to our Newest Staff Member!
Kim Howes, Development Director
We are thrilled to announce the addition of our new development director, Kim Howes! Kim joined the Wild Utah Project team a few short weeks ago. She received her B.S. in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco, and prior to joining our team, she worked to raise awareness and funds for organizations across the West, including nonprofits in California, Colorado, and Utah. Kim has a passion for connecting organizations with enthusiastic supporters who are eager to make a difference in their community. She specializes in fund development, event planning, strategic marketing, design, and communications.
As our development director, Kim helps promote Wild Utah Project’s mission by leading our fundraising and communication efforts. She’s passionate about preserving Utah’s wild landscapes and protecting our wildlife populations through science-based strategies.
Welcome to the Wild Utah Project team, Kim!