Grant helps spark new initiative to track, assess bird species as a way to better monitor stream health
The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association recently received a technology-based grant from the Campbell Foundation to kick off a new initiative called the Waterway Health Indicator Program.
The money from the grant will be used to create and install BirdNet devices that record, identify and upload common bird sounds to an interactive map.
"Our goal is a two-phase process," said Riverkeeper John Zaktansky. "In the first phase, we will be working with the team at the Susquehanna University Freshwater Research Institute to collect and assess data that will help us develop patterns between certain bird species and water quality. The second phase will be to use units to monitor waterways across the region, using those indicators to help us better identify trends in water quality and use them to track potential pollution issues."
One of many benefits of this project is monitoring migration patterns in real time, Fessler added.
"This year, I was able to follow the Robin migration from far south as the Southwest Mexico to Pennsylvania. The cool thing is I knew there were in the area before I could hear or see them myself."
Watch for updates, check out the interactive map, ask questions or donate directly to this initiative at our association BirdNet webpage: www.middlesusquehannariverkeeper.org/birdnet.html
"One of the cool things about this project is that we will be among the first to be doing this, to my knowledge, anywhere," said Zaktansky. "While others are using similar devices to monitor a specific site or watch for a certain species, the fact that we plan to develop this into a new way to better monitor stream health across a large watershed is exciting."
You can also send questions, comments or suggestions about this initiative to Riverkeeper John Zaktansky via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.