Wildnote is committed to improving the efficiency of environmental endeavors of all kinds by streamlining data collection, management, and reporting, through the use of advanced cloud technology. The environmental leaders of tomorrow are emerging today. Wildnote wants to help them succeed. The following featured projects and individuals receive free use of the Wildnote platform, training, and support.
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SLO County Stormwater Resources Plan
The Upper Salinas – Las Tablas Resource Conservation District (USLTRCD) works with a wide array of project partners to implement conservation practices on private and public lands. Some of the programs USLTRCD oversees include: biological surveys for sensitive species such as steelhead; healthy soils on agricultural lands; riparian restoration to improve wildlife habitat and water quality; stormwater management; and carbon farm planning. USLTRCD staff, along with Watershed Stewards Program members, use Wildnote to conduct surveys, easily catalog information, and track progress on restoration projects within the district. Soon USLTRCD will be expanding its efforts to support the Coastal Monitoring Program for steelhead distribution and abundance through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Santa Rosa Creek, and creating a Toad Creek Watershed Steward for residents and business owners to adopt water conservation measures.
Tree Regeneration in Northern Hardwood Forests
The Walters Silviculture Lab within the Michigan State University (MSU) Forestry Department, has partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to research the effects of various silvicultural prescriptions on tree regeneration in northern hardwood forests. Through the conduction of a long-term, 4000-acre research project, MSU and the MDNR hope to find harvesting methods that will result in a more diverse and dense regeneration layer – one that is more resilient to the multiple challenges facing these forests over the coming decades. During the summer of 2018, Wildnote was used to collect photos of long-term research plots immediately following harvesting. Every other year, another photo will be taken to help researchers tell the story of these experimental harvests. Additionally, Wildnote was used to collect residual basal area, percent cover estimates of different vegetation classes, as well as many other important pieces of data.
Advancing Research and Conservation of Migratory Species
A major limitation in managing migratory species has been the necessity to make large-scale decisions based on data gathered from very few well-studied individuals. Such is the case in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem of northern Tanzania, where our understanding of the migration of more than 1 million wildebeest is based on the movement dynamics of a handful of GPS collared individuals. The inability to synchronously measure the movement and behavior of a large proportion of the population hampers the understanding of this species and its relationship to its ecosystem. However, recent advances in satellite and UAV technology now provide a powerful opportunity to study the movement and interaction of thousands of individuals, simultaneously. UC Santa Barbara PhD Candidate, Lacey Hughey, is combining these new technologies with traditional field techniques to better understand how—and why—1.3 million wildebeest travel more than 1,800 miles across the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem each year. Since 2017, Hughey has used Wildnote to collect and manage the complex datasets required for groundtruthing in the field.
Re-introducing Fire into the Ashland Watershed
Students and professors from Reed College are working with The Nature Conservancy, the City of Ashland, the US Forest Service, and the Lomakatsi Restoration Project on a cutting-edge, collaborative project to restore the natural fire regime to the forests surrounding Ashland’s primary watershed. This effort, known as the Ashland Forest Resiliency (AFR) Project, is an excellent example of putting the best-available ecological knowledge into action to solve a real environmental problem. The students are using Wildnote to survey the health of “legacy trees”—the oldest and biggest trees in the forest. This work supports ongoing monitoring efforts for the larger AFR project and is providing new scientific information that will help shape the future management of this important ecosystem.