Awarded to Wildsight (Golden Chapter) to collect baseline inventory bird data utilizing citizen‐scientists to use for application of an Important Bird Area (IBA) status for the Columbia Wetlands that would provide the wetlands with a higher conservation status; and to continue coordinating large-scale bird counts with numerous citizen-scientist opportunities, as well as community education, outreach and collaboration.
PROPONENT: Wildsight Golden
DESCRIPTION: The Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS) is a five-year (2015-2019) coordinated bird count that incorporated the efforts of more than 230 volunteer citizen-scientists. Volunteers collected baseline data on bird populations and bird diversity in the wetlands during migratory periods. By providing a citizen-science role, local residents became engaged with wildlife and local landscapes.
OBJECTIVE: It is expected that this project will contribute significantly to the future management of the Columbia Wetlands ecosystem; bird species that utilize this habitat, with 30 at-risk bird species. Single day bird counts determined that American coot, American wigeon, and mallard are the most common bird species in the wetlands during spring and fall bird migration. Aerial surveys documented that the Columbia Wetlands provides significant habitat to swans, and an osprey inventory determined that there are at least 60 osprey nests in the valley; 43 nests were active in 2019. Three areas in the wetlands were determined to be important resting and feeding areas during migration as evidenced by the consistent high bird concentrations present at those locations. With the reported trend of decreasing global bird populations, the final report (see below) resulting from this project amongst other recommendations, suggests protecting these high valued habitat areas by designating them as refuges. A major outcome of this project is to use the data to nominate the Columbia Wetlands as a candidate area to be incorporated within the ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Area’ (IBA) program. A decision on the IBA outcome is currently pending.
PHOTO: Nicole Trigg/KCP