Wasatch Wildlife Watch:
Spring of 2018 kicked off our long-term mammalian camera-trapping study in the Central Wasatch Mountain Range. 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 individuals have the opportunity to maintain and monitor motion-sensing trail cameras in the Central Wasatch, assist with animal identification photos, and contribute to an online database in an effort to fill critical data gaps in our understanding of native wildlife populations along the Wild-Urban-Interface and contribute information to inform conservation and management of critical wildlife habitat and wildlife populations in the Wasatch.
Objectives of the project:
1. Develop a citizen science program: Up to 100 volunteers attend a training event each field season. They will then maintain and monitor trail camera(s), assist with animal identification, and contribute to an online database. Citizen scientists will be engaged stewards of wildlife and understand their role in maintaining biodiversity in our public lands and the Wasatch.
2. Deploy trail cameras in locations across the Wasatch wild-urban interface to enable us to fill critical gaps in the understanding of how wildlife communities respond to varying levels of disturbance.
3. Develop predictive spatial model: Combine wildlife occurrence data gathered through trail cameras with existing habitat data to develop a predictive spatial model to inform future landscape-level planning decisions in the Wasatch. This will enable state and federal agencies and land managers to make more informed decisions regarding maintenance and improvement of critical wildlife habitat and corridors in our public land and the Wasatch.
4. Inform Central Wasatch Environmental Dashboard: The aforementioned raw data and spatial models will be fed into the Environmental Dashboard (this was an outcome of the Wasatch Mountain Accord - which is a spatially explicit online database cataloging the extent, distribution and level of function of important wildlife habitat in the Central Wasatch). The public, land managers, biologists, transportation and development planners have access to this tool to avoid and minimize impacts to wildlife, habitats, and corridors. This will also support opportunities for increasing habitat connectivity and protecting critical wildlife habitats.
Click here for more detailed description of the Citizen Scientist Volunteer Effort and check back to this page in early 2019 for details on how to register for the 2019 Wasatch Trail Camera Citizen Science opportunity.