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Great Lakes Article:

Quinte - Volunteers needed to monitor wildlife
www.communitypress-online.com
Posted February 10th, 2005


People enjoy volunteering for good causes, and an increasing number of people today enjoy watching wildlife. Combine the two, and you have the makings of an ambitious project that has spread throughout the Quinte watershed since 2001.

The Community Wildlife Monitoring Program is a project of The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan. Four popular wildlife monitoring programs have merged into a co-operative effort that, hopefully, will provide a handle on the status of birds and frogs in the area. Animals are good indicators of environmental health and can tell us a lot about the current condition of the watershed.

The four programs are user-friendly, and even inexperienced volunteers will feel comfortable getting involved. Volunteers in the Quinte area have a choice of taking part in the Marsh Monitoring Program, Forest Bird Monitoring Program, Amphibian Call Counts, or FrogWatch. Volunteers can take part in all four, or pick the one that sounds most appealing. The purpose of the exercise is to keep these indicator wildlife statistics current. Collectively, these programs provide an overview on population fluctuations within certain species, and a snapshot on the health of local wetlands and forests. Close to 100 volunteers contribute valuable data every year by listening for frogs, toads and birds.

Twenty years ago the Bay of Quinte was declared a Great Lakes pollution hotspot. Among the side effects was a dramatic loss of fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Planís Restoration Council carries out actions with local partners in its efforts to restore the Bay and its drainage area. Wildlife monitoring is part of the process because both the variety of species and their numbers tell us a lot about our progress.

Three training workshops are planned for this spring; all take place at Quinte Conservation in Belleville and start at 7 in the evening. The March 24 workshop will focus on identifying frogs and toads. March 31 is the Marsh Monitoring Program, and the series will conclude on April 7 with the doís and doníts of Forest Bird Monitoring. Contact Terry Sprague, Project Co-ordinator, at (613) 476-5072 or <tsprague@kos.net>.

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