Citizen Science with Digital AppsBy Chris
With the support of Alberta Environment and Parks, and funders like the Land Stewardship Centre’s Watershed Stewardship Grant, Kinsmen and RBC Tech for Nature, the Friends of Fish Creek have developed a series of digital apps to collect data about our stewardship projects across the land base. From beaver activity, invasive species, tree wrapping and riparian restoration monitoring, the data helps us to monitor the success of our stewardship efforts.
The Friends will hold volunteer training sessions for:
1. NEW: Weed Watchers Program
- The Weed Watchers program aims to make a more measurable impact on the landscape and implement the important “Early Detection, Rapid Response” process of managing invasive species. Volunteers will use our ArcGIS mapping platform to submit weed observations and locations for FoFC review by our Citizen Science & Stewardship Coordinator and lead volunteers. Once each observation and species identification has been confirmed, trained Weed Watcher teams will be dispatched to the site for manual removal and disposal of the weeds. Teams will be equipped with first aid kits, hand tools, weed bags and approved native seeds for reseeding areas disturbed by manual removal.
2. NEW: Weed Mapping & Thesium Ramosum Mapping
- One way we will be measuring our performance during this project will be by measuring the density and distribution of Prohibited Noxious, Noxious, and other invasive weeds. Weed Mappers will help map out invasive species prior to vegetation management strategies such as mowing or hand-pulling, which will be compared to data collected in following seasons to determine if weed populations are decreasing as expected.
- A cohort of these weed mappers will be specifically trained on the identification of Thesium ramosum, an invasive species that is pervasive in Fish Creek. Thesium Mappers will work to collect observations in May and June, when thesium is most visible with small white flowers.
3. Beaver Activity and Coexistence Strategy Monitoring
- To mitigate negative effects of beaver impoundments along spring and stormwater drainage channels in Marshal Springs, four flow control devices were installed in September 2020. These flow control devices work to drain excess water from beaver-dammed ponds, alleviating some flooding pressure off the paved and single track pathways in the area. Beaver coexistence monitoring and maintenance volunteers are trained by lead volunteers to inspect the flow control devices and report maintenance requests using our fieldmaps. Maintenance shifts include activities such as wading in beaver ponds to unclog drainage pipes/culverts, re-setting 40 ft. long flow control devices, breaking apart beaver dams, etc. and thus volunteers are recommended to own personal chestwaders if involved in maintenance.
The Friends of Fish Creek train volunteers each spring to use their own digital devices in the field to enter observations about various stewardship projects in the park. The data collected informs and helps us to prioritize our future stewardship efforts.
If you’d like to know more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact Emma Stroud, Citizen Science & Stewardship Coordinator, at email@example.com or 403-238-3841 ext. 3.
To receive email notification when training is ready for sign-up, please check off each Program Interest in your MyVolunteerPage account. You can create an account if you don’t already have one, by clicking the button below.