This project will improve the information on the status of breeding ospreys in the Kootenay Lake area. The project will also contribute to engaging and educating Basin residents and catalyzing them to be active stewards of Kootenay Lake.
Increasing our understanding of breeding Ospreys is extremely important as they are considered bio-indicators of aquatic health, depending almost exclusively on fish for their diet. Currently, there is a fisheries decline occurring on Kootenay Lake and it has become increasingly important to enhance our knowledge of the breeding success of this sentinel species.
We hosted two well-attended workshops this past May in two communities around Kootenay Lake to facilitate monitoring techniques and skills for interested volunteers. Also the initial field days on both the North Arm of Kootenay Lake and the South Arm were completed. These volunteers will also be engaged for the 4 remaining volunteer days to collect the fledgling data.
Background on the Project
For the last 18 years, volunteers have monitored breeding Ospreys annually from Balfour to Waneta. The Kootenay Lake Osprey Nest Monitoring project would complement this existing monitoring effort by:
- Expanding the survey area to include the main body of the lake in year 1 and scoping strategy for incorporating the Duncan and Lardeau Valleys and the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area in the future.
- We have successfully hosted 2 workshops on monitoring techniques, one at the Kokanne Nature Centre, Kokanee Provincial Park on May 17, 2016 and another at the Community Corner in Crawford Bay on May 17th, 2016. We had more than 20 folks in attendance.
- We will facilitate 3 field monitoring sessions to educate and engage these 20 citizen-scientists. This entails traveling the shoreline of the North Arm and South Arm of Kootenay Lake. We have already successfully completed our 1st monitoring transect to locate nests, navigating over 254 km of Kootenay Main Lake.
- We have developed a handout to support interpreting Osprey behavior for the monitoring volunteers to be better able to assess breeding activity.
- Assembling results from all study areas into an annual report with results going to the BC Nest Records Scheme, provincial Species Inventory Database and to Project NestWatch.
The team who has been involved in the 18 years of monitoring, will be leading the training sessions as well as developing the field handout. We will be using proven protocol established from the 18 year monitoring program which will help to ensure the results collected from the main lake are comparable to the data collected from the Balfour to Waneta program. In future years, strategically installing osprey nest platforms (based on the info collected during this project) will help to benefit local wildlife through enhancing the riparian areas around the lake. The expected results of the project are to increase information on the status of breeding ospreys on Kootenay Lake and to develop a dedicated team of volunteers with the knowledge and equipment required to conduct long-term monitoring of breeding ospreys.
This project will combine monitoring of a focal species with community engagement to help inform on-the-ground action projects for future years. The project supports and expands upon a citizen-science initiative that has been running for 18 years to monitor breeding Ospreys from Balfour to Waneta. The project will increase the scope of the monitoring to include the main body of Kootenay Lake, develop a handout for interpreting Osprey behavior to assess breeding activity. Citizen-scientists will be trained to conduct the monitoring and will gain the skills and resources necessary to continue the monitoring in the long-term and contribute to the plan of future platform installation.
Long-term data sets recording Osprey (a migratory bird) breeding success can play a role in the recovery of this focal species and the future of wildlife conservation planning. By training a dedicated group of volunteers we can enhance this existing program by expanding the study area to include the main body of Kootenay Lake including a portion of the Creston, Duncan, and Lardeau Valleys. This project will improve our knowledge of breeding ospreys in one of BC’s largest lakes.
LINK TO THE OSPREY NEST BEHAVIOUR AND BIOLOGY HANDOUT HERE: Osprey_Handout_2016
Funding for this project was provided by:
Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK)