CITIZEN SCIENCE

What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in research to increase knowledge. Through citizen science, people share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs. There is a variety of ways that you can get involved!

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Recreation Monitoring

We have a volunteer opportunity to help shape the future of recreation management in the Owyhee region. If you find yourself in the Owyhee region for a day trip, weekend trip, or backpacking, you're right where we need you. All you have to do is document how many vehicles, campers, OHVs, and people you see using the land. 

 

This information, compiled over time, will show the management agencies when the traffic is highest on days of the week, months, and seasons. This data is lacking given limited resources.

How does this work?
  1. Download and print this form before you go out.

  2. When you return from your adventure, enter your data on our Google Form.

Fence Data Collection

Over the millions of acres of the Owyhee, there are also thousands of miles of fences crossing the landscape. While there is a need for fences due to cattle production, there are many other large animals like deer, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep that are not fans of the fences.

While complete removal of all fences is unrealistic because of the shared nature of the landscape, transitioning away from 4-strand, barbed wire fences can be extremely beneficial. This type of fence causes several issues with wildlife passage, but the main concern is that these animals can become tangled in the wire when they attempt to jump over the fences, which leaves them stranded. To be much more wildlife friendly, we would ideally replace all 4-strand fences with 3-strand fences that also have:

  • Proper spacing between all of the wires

  • No stays between the t-posts 

  • A smooth bottom wire (allowing Deer, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep to pass underneath more safely)

What can you do to help? 
Help us document where all the 4-strand fences are in the landscape. As state and federal agencies identify wildlife migration corridors throughout the Owyhee, these fences can then be replaced with the 3-strand alternatives that we mentioned.

​How does this work?

  1. Download a smartphone app (Gaia GPS, ONx Hunt, Avanza Map) to get the coordinates.

  2. Download and print this form before you go out.

  3. When you return from your adventure, enter your data on our Google Form.

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Beaver Data

Water in the desert is critical for life, and this area of the country is prone to drought and wildfires. Beavers can play a critical role in easing the water issues during droughts by slowing the flow of water and even capturing it via their dams, making it last longer. The green areas that they create may help deter a wildfire spreading, and when it can’t do that, it provides a safe area for wildlife to find refuge. 

 

If you see a beaver dam while you’re out in the Owyhee, we would like to know! We’re looking for the location (GPS coordinates) as well as an estimated height and width of the dam itself.

 

How does this work?

  1. Download a smartphone app (Gaia GPS, ONx Hunt, Avanza Map) to get the coordinates.

  2. Download and print this form before you go out.

  3. When you return from your adventure, enter your data on our Google Form.

WSA monitoring

This monitoring is beneficial for updating and maintenance of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) databases. It can also help us here at Friends of the Owyhee find new projects! In the Oregon and Nevada Owyhee watershed, there is a total of 27 Wilderness Study Areas. 

 

What is a Wilderness Study Area (WSA)?

On BLM lands, a WSA is a roadless area that has been inventoried (but not designated by Congress) and found to have wilderness characteristics. WSAs are not included in the National Wilderness Preservation System until the United States Congress passes wilderness legislation.

 

What should you monitor in the WSA?

  • Intrusions: off-road travel into the WSA on routes that are not on the map

  • Observed visitor use: see anybody out there?

  • Sign replacement: do you see any WSA signs? 

  • Recent vehicle use: does it look like the road has had recent vehicle uses?

  • % of WSA observed and how it was observed

 

How does this work?

  1. Download a smartphone app (Gaia GPS, ONx Hunt, Avanza Map) to get the coordinates.

  2. Download and print this form before you go out.

  3. Find the WSA you’re monitoring via this online map. (You can even download a KML file from here and add it to your GPS device.)

  4. When you return from your adventure, send us a picture of your form via our Google Form.

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