Deep Creek Preserve Citizen Science Biological Assessment
March 2, 2016
Working closely with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, INLC plans to conduct several biological assessments on the new Deep Creek Preserve, starting in the spring of 2016. These surveys will be conducted by a mostly volunteer group and are an exciting way to encourage community involvement.
In the future, visitors will be able to submit photos to our “photo point” database. Interpretive signs will explain how and where to submit these photos. Possibly photos could be uploaded instantaneously using a smart phone or tablet! These photos will be used to monitor vegetation and ecosystem changes over time. This can be especially important for watching results of native plant restoration projects, such as the re-seeding with native grasses that took place this past fall. These photos will also be used to monitor water depth in several small ponds. In the long term, we hope to create a system of boardwalks and trails through the preserve, with interpretive signs in specific spots where visitors can take photographs.
In addition, several points will be set up in other areas where photos will be taken routinely by staff or trained volunteers. According to the U.S. Forest Service website, “Point monitoring is an easy and inexpensive, yet effective, method of monitoring vegetation and ecosystem change. It consists of repeat photography of an area of interest over a period of time, with photographs taken from the same location and with the same field of view as the original photo. With appropriate site marking and documentation, photos can be precisely replicated by different people many years apart.”
Another exciting citizen science project we plan to do is biodiversity studies. Local experts will lead volunteers to assess the birds, plants, mammals and reptiles and amphibians of the 150-acre preserve. These kind of surveys are undertaken to find out what organisms exist in a given area. The data gathered from these surveys are used for numerous purposes such as evaluating conservation priorities of an area.