Site Based, Long-Term Monitoring
In contrast to incidental observations which provide information primarily on where animals are found, long-term monitoring provides information on whether populations of amphibians and reptiles are increasing, decreasing or staying stable by collecting data in a standard way year after year at certain selected sites. Populations fluctuate naturally each year not only in relation to weather conditions, such as snowpack, spring rains or summer temperature, but also due to ecological fluctuations such as predator-prey cycles. There are a number of techniques that can be used to monitor amphibians and reptiles, two of which are suited for Citizen Science based monitoring
These projects and methods can be challenging to implement and entering the data can be non-intuitive if you are not used to Excel Spreadsheets. Please don’t hesitate to contact the BC Frogwatch coordinator if you need assistance with set up or data entry. We will try and assist you as much as possible.
Other survey techniques such as those described in Resource Inventory Standards Committee website can only be conducted under the supervision of a professional biologist with a Wildlife Act permit. All wildlife, including amphibians and reptiles, are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife Act and cannot be captured or handled without a valid Wildlife Act permit, which is issued after careful review of the goals, methods and animal handling protocols of a project.
Long-term monitoring requires more time, effort and resources than incidental observations. The data from monitoring programs become useful the longer the duration of the monitoring but a minimum of 3 to 5 years are necessary before trends in the data can be observed. For a great example of a long-term amphibian monitoring project, check out the amphibian monitoring program by the Nicola Naturalists conducted under the guidance of experienced professional biologists.