Wild Utah Project @wildutahproject recently held their End-of-Summer Volunteer Celebration and three Utah BHA members were presented Volunteer of the Year Awards. Melissa Early (Utah BHA board member) was awarded Stream and Riparian Restoration Volunteer of the Year, and Ian and Spencer Schofield were awarded Overall Volunteer of the Year.
Wild Utah Project is an organization that supports implementing science and data-driven strategies to facilitate conservation goals. Through the community science aspects of their projects, they engage and train volunteers with a passion for wildlife, thereby increasing their capacity to support data-driven conservation and foster important community ties with unique Western landscapes and wildlife.
Ian and Spencer Schofield are a father-son team who have been involved with Wild Utah Project since 2018 when the Wasatch Wildlife Watch camera trapping project was started. They are currently operating six cameras for Wasatch Wildlife Watch, four of which are located on the I-80 wildlife overpass at the top of Parleys Summit. They also contribute through uploading camera trap photos to eMammal, where they then analyze and classify captured images. Additionally, as the project has recently expanded to allow for year-round monitoring of cameras, they are excited to extend their work into the rest of the year.
Wasatch Wildlife Watch is designed to understand the current condition of the Wasatch Mountains wildlife populations, habitats, and responses to human development in areas where prime wildlife habitat meets growing urban development, the wild-urban-interface. Information regarding the wild-urban-interface is crucial for future development planning that will benefit both residents and wildlife. Teams of trained volunteer community scientists and experts alike deploy camera traps throughout the Wasatch Mountains that are monitored regularly. Whether interested in Dedicated Hunter Hours or simply to learn more about camera trapping and future science-based decision making along the Wasatch Mountains, consider volunteering at the link provided! https://wildutahproject.org/wasatch-wildlife-watch
Melissa Early has been involved with Wild Utah Project since September 2019. In that short time, she has facilitated a new and important partnership with BHA. Her work has not only included volunteering on stream restoration projects but has also included writing grants and getting more volunteers out to have a tangible, boots-on-the-ground impact on their watersheds. This partnership with BHA has allowed Wild Utah Project to increase their capacity and impact on important habitats for fish and wildlife through their Stream and Riparian Restoration projects.
Wild Utah Project Stream and Riparian Restoration projects focus on degraded streams, which are sometimes attributed to the removal of beavers from ecosystems. The environmental benefits of beaver activity are well documented and include:
- Creating aquatic and riparian habitats,
- Providing hydrological connectivity,
- Reducing erosion,
- Controlling sediments,
- Reducing runoff and floods, and
- Raising the water table.
Beaver recolonization in degraded streams may not always be successful or feasible. However, the Stream and Riparian Restoration projects employ low-tech restoration tools such as human-made beaver dams, or beaver dam analogs (BDAs), which mimic the work of beavers to enhance riparian habitat, trap sediment, and improve coldwater trout fisheries. These low-tech restoration activities, supported by volunteers, improve the health of degraded streams by creating habitat connectivity for wildlife and paving the way for successful beaver re-establishment.
Join BHA, Wild Utah Project and Utah DWR @utahdwr, for volunteer field work and earn Dedicated Hunter Hours! BHA and Wild Utah Project are joining forces in Lamb's Canyon Creek to build BDAs on October 22nd-24th. BDAs are a fun way to make a tangible impact and enhance water quality, and no prior experience or training is necessary! Please sign up ahead of time in the link provided. BHA is following strict COVID-19 Safety Protocol. Free, individually wrapped lunches will be served to all volunteers on site. Whether you love fishing the tributaries of Utah's bigger rivers or enhancing big game habitat, come lend a hand! https://wildutahproject.org/stream-and-riparian-restoration