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Citizen scientists help protect Bay of Quinte wetlands and wildlife

Every year, the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan (BQRAP) seeks volunteer citizen scientists to monitor frogs and birds in local wetlands.

On Monday, March 5 at 7pm at Quinte Conservation, naturalist and columnist, Terry Sprague will host a presentation explaining how you can protect Bay of Quinte wetlands and wildlife by monitoring for birds and frogs. A new Ospreys and Eagles program will also be announced.

The FrogWatch Ontario program is a family-friendly activity; and the Marsh Monitoring Program is more structured.

The Marsh Monitoring Program records wetland birds and frogs, twice for 15 minutes each, between May and July.

FrogWatch Ontario volunteers record amphibians once a week from April through June and submit their results online.

“The information you collect tells us about the presence and abundance of both species in coastal and inland marshes, and contributes to our understanding of these species and their habitat needs,” says Sprague.

This year, there is a new program focusing on monitoring for Ospreys and Eagles using Twitter on a smart phone.

“Ospreys and Eagles are indicators of water quality health,” said Sprague. “Changes in the number of nesting pairs and number of chicks produced can reflect changes in aquatic ecosystem health.”

Last year, the environmental challenges relating to fish and wildlife populations met all the criteria outlined in the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan.

Soon, the bay is expected to be officially declared as restored by the federal and provincial governments.

“Now, the focus must change to ensuring they don’t backslide,” said Sprague. “This is where citizen scientists become vitally important, as the ‘boots on the ground’ as the saying goes.”

Participants can monitor sites at the cottage, in the backyard, or at designated monitoring locations. The information gathered will ensure the long-term protection of this area’s fish and wildlife.

Sprague is available to help guide each individual through the monitoring.

“These monitoring programs are all user friendly and even inexperienced volunteers will feel comfortable taking part,” he notes.

There is no cost to attend the presentation.

For additional information contact Terry Sprague at 613-848-4549 or tsprague@xplornet.com

Visit www.naturestuff.net or www.bqrap.ca

The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan is in partnership locally with Lower Trent Conservation and Quinte Conservation.

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