MOTION ACTIVATED INSIGHT: A TRAIL CAMERA STUDY IN SONOMA COUNTY REGIONAL PARKS.
Christopher J. Collier; Sonoma County Regional Parks; 872 Union Street, Arcata, CA, 95521; (775) 997-4685; chrisjamescollier@gmail.com; Lenihan C. Mazur
Sonoma County Regional Parks (SCRP) manages 56 parks comprising 11,000 acres in California. Currently more than 90 percent of land in Sonoma County is privately owned, making SCRP parklands vital habitat for wildlife. Beginning in April 2016, a survey utilizing remote sensing cameras was deployed to inform natural resource managers of wildlife presence within Sonoma County parks. Motion activated cameras were placed along trails in 11 parks and monitored biweekly. A diverse array of species, some previously undocumented, were observed. The detection of black bear (Ursus americanus) and mountain lion (Puma concolor) subsequently led managers at SCRP to install bear-proof infrastructure and educational displays in several parks. A severe fire event took place in October 2017, and comparisons with baseline data allowed for an evaluation of wildlife response. Data was used to collaborate with other organizations, informing larger, landscape level decision-making. Additionally, the study provided SCRP with photographs and video that were shared on social media platforms, connecting the public to wildlife in a new and meaningful way. To help guide management decisions, agencies may benefit from deploying trail cameras as an alternative to more costly, invasive methods of research.
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