Developing a new citizen science project in the Pass

IMG_0883_Low ResTracy (Miistakis), Rob (Road Watch in the Pass) and Tony (Highway Wilding) were down in the Crowsnest Pass last week working through methods for a new citizen science project aimed at monitoring road kill data at key mitigation sites identified by the Highway 3: Transportation Mitigation for Wildlife and Connectivity report. Citizens will walk transects parallel but off the highway and record observed road kill using a smart phone app. This information will help researchers evaluate the effectiveness of infrastructure (such as underpasses and fencing) to improve human and wildlife safety while maintaining wildlife connectivity.

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Eco-insight? There’s an app for that!

Capture12_16_50We are pleased to be featured in this week’s Face Time with an article on the WildWatch app that Miistakis created in partnership with Cenovus. To learn more about the app and the story behind it, please read the article by clicking here. A big shout-out to Face Time for their coverage of Miistakis stories this week!

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Mount Royal University’s Face Time features Highway Wilding film

Grizzly at Bourgeau_retouch2Mount Royal University’s Face Time is featuring a story on the Highway Wilding film. The story is timely as we are heading into our final push to promote the film. It features interviews with both film-maker Leanne Allison and Miistakis staff member Rachelle Haddock. Thanks to Face Time for helping us to spread the Highway Wilding good word!

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How did the lynx cross the road?

Herd of cougarsThe International Society for Endangered Cats’ blog is featuring the Highway Wilding film today. We are grateful for ISEC Canada’s support in our attempts to boost the number of people who have watched the Highway Wilding film. To date over 71,000 people have viewed the film and we want to push the number higher in hopes of catalyzing conversations about how highways can be designed and expanded with both wildlife and people in mind. If you would like to recieve a copy of the Highway Wilding DVD or to organize a screening, please contact Rachelle (rachelle@rockies.ca). Thanks for reading!

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Announcing: Conservation Easement Web Resource for Landowners

CE Web Resource

Conservation easements can be a powerful tool for Albertans looking to fulfill long-term conservation goals on their property. To make the best use of this tool, landowners need access to basic information: What are conservation easements, and what are the benefits? Who are the eligible conservation easement holders in Alberta, where do they operate, and what are their priorities? How and can this tool be used creatively?

To answer these and many more questions, the Miistakis Institute adapted and updated a previous resource called “Programs and Possibilities: Conservation Easements in Alberta” and created a new website “Conservation Easements in Alberta – an online resource for landowners” (www.rockies.ca/ce_guide/index.php). A huge advantage of the website is the ease with which it can be edited and updated as information changes. This website resource is available to any interested landowners or others wanting to know more about this innovative conservation tool.

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Upcoming event: Crown Managers Partnership 14th Annual Forum March 17-19 in Missoula MT

Save the date for the Crown Managers Partnership 14th Annual Forum to be held in Missoula Montana. The forum is titled Climate Change Adaptation in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.

Details for the event will be posted at http://crownmanagers.org

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Protecting Wildlife on Highway 3 – Long term investment in the Crowsnest Pass creates change

Thanks to Alberta Ecotrust for profiling the impact of their investment.

[below is re-posted from Alberta Ecotrust's December newsletter]

What is the value of an Ecotrust grant?

In the short term, even the smallest of grants can create the opportunity for change. In the long term, it may change entire communities and how we interact with the environment around us.

“Beginning in 2004, we wanted to start compiling data of wildlife collisions along Highway 3 by utilizing citizen science combined with online mapping,” says Danah Duke, Executive Director at Miistakis Institute. “It is often very difficult to find funders who will take a risk, but Ecotrust fills a unique niche – they will frequently be the first funder in – creating opportunities to get projects off the ground and leverage additional funding.”

Nine years, six grants, and $107,000 later the entire landscape has changed along the Highway 3 corridor in Crowsnest Pass.

Road Watch in the Pass became the robust citizen science project that Miistakis originally envisioned, and has completely transitioned to a community led and organized program. Multiple grants have facilitated and enabled collaborative work among environmental non-profits working in the area, as Miistakis, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and the Western Transportation Group formed the Highway 3 Partnership in 2008 to tackle the challenge of wildlife-motor vehicle collisions together.

“Investing in the protection of wildlife and prevention of dangerous accidents along Highway 3 over the last decade is emblematic of our approach to funding environmental projects in Alberta,” explains Pat Letizia, Executive Director at Alberta Ecotrust. “We recognize that environmental problems are complex and often require consistent, long term strategic investments. In many cases, we are also funding other ENGOs who are project collaborators, so the cumulative impact of these grants is even more substantial. It might not be a large sum of money, but the opportunity for long-term impact is huge.”

After nine years, the local Crowsnest community is engaged and empowered, mitigation measures are beginning to be implemented at locations identified from local science, key areas in the corridor have been secured for conservation, and Alberta Transportation and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development are actively working towards future solutions with the community. This would not have happened without the original and continued  investment from Alberta Ecotrust.

To view the history and environmental situation along Highway 3 and Ecotrust funded projects, please see the linked infographic. http://www.albertaecotrust.com/images/protecting-wildlife-along-highway-3.jpg

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Lisa’s summer at Miistakis…

I am an MRU environmental science student completing my first work experience semester with the Miistakis Institute. With a passion for conservation and a goal to pursue a graduate degree in environment and resource management, Miistakis has been a perfect fit for me.

I have been working along side Tracy Lee, Kim Good, and Mike Quinn on a project that will assess the economic impacts of wildlife on the beef industry.  My personal role in the project has been to conduct a literature review by exploring previous research studies and grey literature concerned with cattle and calf depredation, carnivore-induced stress, competition for forage, property damage and/or loss, and damage prevention and management.

In June I took a trip with my favorite GIS/Spatial Analyst, Greg Chernoff, to attend a Large Carnivore Project Tour in Cardston County. The tour consisted of a visit to a Carcass Composting Facility and several ranches using preventive strategies to mitigate grizzly bear depredation. One of our last stops included a visit to a DNA rub tree, which is used to evaluate grizzly bear populations in southwestern Alberta.

Bison Paddock in Waterton Lakes National Park

Bison Paddock in Waterton Lakes National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Rock Canyon in Waterton Lakes National Park - Where's Greg?

Red Rock Canyon in Waterton Lakes National Park – Where’s Greg?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking over to view the bear-proof grain bins

Walking over to view the bear-proof grain bins

Inside the carcass composting facility in Cardston County

Inside the carcass composting facility in Cardston County

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Wahoo!! Rob and Loretta are Emerald Award Finalists

Congratulations to Rob and Loretta Schaufele of Road Watch in the Pass, who are finalists in the community group category of the 22nd Annual Emerald Awards. Winners are announced June 6th. http://emeraldfoundation.ca/emerald-awards/2013-finalists

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Rob & Loretta Schaufele nominated for an Emerald Award

We are very pleased to share the news that Rob & Loretta Schaufele have been nominated for an Emerald Award for their work with Road Watch in the Pass. Please click here to view the Emerald Foundation’s list of all nominees.  Congratulations to Rob & Loretta, and to all of the other nominees!

For more information on Road Watch in the Pass, please visit their Facebook page.

Loretta inputs road kill data in an Otto unit

Loretta inputs road kill data in an Otto unit

 

 

Rob discusses Road Watch in the Pass

Rob discusses Road Watch in the Pass

 

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