Abstract Title

Session S-04I: Citizen Science as a Tool for Conservation

Presenter/Author Information

Dave Glenn, Seattle AquariumFollow

Keywords

Citizens/Education

Location

Room 604

Start Date

1-5-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

Description

During the Fall and Winter of 2012, the Seattle Aquarium conducted in-water work to replace creosote pilings with steel pilings near the Aquarium's harbor seal exhibit. The pile driving work created noise that could harm marine mammals protected by the Endangered Species Act. In order to prevent harm to marine mammals, permits required the monitoring of Elliott Bay for the presence of ESA protected mammals and the immediate halt of any noise creating work that could cause damage to these species. In addition to the required monitoring, the Aquarium saw an opportunity to further our understanding of which mammals call Elliott Bay home during the monitoring period. We created and implemented a plan to both monitor for ESA protected species within the permit requirements and record the presence or absence of all marine mammal species within the monitoring area. To implement the effort, monitoring protocol was carefully designed. Training for volunteer monitors was provided by Seattle Aquarium staff in partnership with NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources. Monitors were scheduled at five sites surrounding Elliott Bay. For two months, monitors collected data Monday through Friday, from 8am to 4pm. From the marine mammal monitoring effort, we learned the following: • Effective program design - the importance of testing and retesting protocol. • Appropriate staffing levels - anticipating scheduling issues and building in redundancies for monitoring efforts. • Recruitment and retention - increase volunteer recognition through regular communication on the project’s efforts. Overall, the project was deemed a success, with 79 volunteers trained as Marine Mammal Monitors. These volunteers completed 1,380 hours of service while conducting 3,583 scans of Elliott Bay for the presence or absence of marine mammals. Monitors halted piling construction four times during the monitoring period. Since the monitoring project, the Aquarium has incorporated the data collected in to our education and interpretation efforts. The data and antidotal evidence from the project have supported the Aquarium’s mission of inspiring conservation of our marine environment.

Share

COinS
 
May 1st, 8:30 AM May 1st, 10:00 AM

Opportunity Driven By Necessity: Citizen Scientists’ Marine Mammal Monitoring on Elliott Bay

Room 604

During the Fall and Winter of 2012, the Seattle Aquarium conducted in-water work to replace creosote pilings with steel pilings near the Aquarium's harbor seal exhibit. The pile driving work created noise that could harm marine mammals protected by the Endangered Species Act. In order to prevent harm to marine mammals, permits required the monitoring of Elliott Bay for the presence of ESA protected mammals and the immediate halt of any noise creating work that could cause damage to these species. In addition to the required monitoring, the Aquarium saw an opportunity to further our understanding of which mammals call Elliott Bay home during the monitoring period. We created and implemented a plan to both monitor for ESA protected species within the permit requirements and record the presence or absence of all marine mammal species within the monitoring area. To implement the effort, monitoring protocol was carefully designed. Training for volunteer monitors was provided by Seattle Aquarium staff in partnership with NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources. Monitors were scheduled at five sites surrounding Elliott Bay. For two months, monitors collected data Monday through Friday, from 8am to 4pm. From the marine mammal monitoring effort, we learned the following: • Effective program design - the importance of testing and retesting protocol. • Appropriate staffing levels - anticipating scheduling issues and building in redundancies for monitoring efforts. • Recruitment and retention - increase volunteer recognition through regular communication on the project’s efforts. Overall, the project was deemed a success, with 79 volunteers trained as Marine Mammal Monitors. These volunteers completed 1,380 hours of service while conducting 3,583 scans of Elliott Bay for the presence or absence of marine mammals. Monitors halted piling construction four times during the monitoring period. Since the monitoring project, the Aquarium has incorporated the data collected in to our education and interpretation efforts. The data and antidotal evidence from the project have supported the Aquarium’s mission of inspiring conservation of our marine environment.