On Saturday, December 7th, approximately 30 volunteers thawed out their vehicles,wrapped themselves in weather resistant garb, and journeyed to the Sandpoint Ranger Station. For true-blooded northerners like these good folks, winter stewardship work is more than just for fun; its a calling…
Energized and warmed by the anticipation of another great season of research, volunteers convened in the conference room and listened to presentations given by FSPW and IDF&G regarding the final season of the Multi-species Baseline Initiative. The project is a state-wide, comprehensive study developed by IDF&G aimed at establishing current population estimates for species of concern in Idaho. The study depends on volunteer citizen scientists to meet its research goals. This year’s research sites include some of the most challenging to access locations in some of the most difficult backcountry conditions.
Teams have now been established and their volunteer members trained and excited to hit the trail for the final season of this project. Twenty sites will be visited in total: 12 sites will set-up wildlife corridor cameras to monitoring movement at lower elevations, and eight sites will be baited and placed in high elevation travel pathways. The work accomplished by FSPW volunteers this year has great potential benefit for our local wildlife and ecosystem health.
Wolverines and other high elevation carnivores have proved difficult to monitor historically due to their extreme environments and private behaviors. Changing climatic conditions threaten their alpine ecosystem homes, and effective future management for these keystone species requires accurate population estimates. The population data volunteers record this season will be analyzed by IDF&G personnel and incorporated into a strategic management plan that supports these rare forest carnivores to be developed in 2015.
We have an incredible group of volunteers tackling this project for its final year. Thanks to everyone for their commitment and fortitude. Follow our on-the-ground progress here each week!
For further information about this project or how to become involved, please contact the FSPW Field Coordinator Kristen@Scotchmanpeaks.org, visit us at our downtown Sandpoint office, 323 N. 1st Ave, Tuesday- Thursday, 9am-2pm.