Standardized Wildlife Monitoring: A major step forward in harmonization of data collection methods!

For the past several years, the Ecological Monitoring Committee for the Lower Athabasca (EMCLA) has been exploring methods for improving the way we monitor species. One of the EMCLA’s projects has focused on the use of automated recording units (ARU’s) to monitor elusive, vocalizing species such as owls, amphibians, and the Yellow Rail.

ARU’s have the potential to make massive improvements to biological monitoring in Alberta, as they are able to monitor multiple groups of species simultaneously, while at the same time reducing safety and logistical concerns associated with traditional survey methods.  As a result of this huge potential, several organizations are coming together for the 2013 field season to pilot a coordinated ARU program throughout northern Alberta.

The program will bring together multiple industrial organizations, the ABMI, and the EMCLA, such that data is collected, stored, and processed in a standardized way across all these monitoring programs. The collaborative effort is being led by the EMCLA’s Rare Animals team based out of the University of Alberta.  As part of this effort, the EMCLA hosted a training session on March 25th for participants to learn about ARU’s and their capabilities. The training was a huge success and a great way to kick-off the monitoring season. ARU’s will be deployed throughout April for owl surveys and will continue throughout the summer.

For more information on the EMCLA’s ARU project, please contact Monica Kohler.