The Wabakimi Boreal Caribou Citizen Monitoring Project ---FOW's Grant Proposal to the Ontario Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program
Ontarion Caribou Conservation Program Explained. Ontario announced a $29 million fund for caribou monitoring, conservation and restoration. This is intended to meet the requirements of the Canada-Ontario Boreal Caribou Agreement.
Friends of Wabakimi (FOW) proposes to fill gaps in our knowledge of Boreal Caribou presence and behavior, especially calving, on wilderness Crown lands within a 2.6m hectare part of the Brightsand and Nipigon Ranges that lacks recent geographically-specific monitoring data. FOW will seek to reduce anthropogenic disturbance, informed by this new data. The project is citizen science-based, engaging many wilderness canoeists. FOW will achieve broad outreach, using its powerful communication platform to publish results and recommendations. FOW will spearhead future citizen monitoring in this area.
The project proposes 22 expeditions over 4 years, with some 88 experienced canoeists heading out in the Crown lands of the Wabakimi Area to investigate signs (hopefully will also catch sight) of Boreal Caribou presence and behavior, especially calving areas. The Wabakimi Area is near the current southern boundary of the continuous range of Boreal Caribou, and is regarded as a threatened area where the caribou population might not be sustainable. Such citizen research has been very effective in other fields, such as bird surveys.
The grant will enable FOW to manage the project, and to provide valuable financial awards to incentivize expedition participants. FOW will seek to reduce human disturbance to Boreal Caribou through extensive outreach directly to its members and other wilderness users, and indirectly through its public comments to Ontario government agencies.
Our FOW grant proposal was submitted on Sept. 23rd (before the Sept. 28th deadline)