FOW Boreal Research & Community Science Fund
Woodland Caribou Survey Project Description
Background: Wabakimi Provincial Park provides anchor habitat for woodland caribou that also need the essential boreal habitat of the surrounding five Crown Land Forests and other reserves. These lands are subject to forest harvest, roads and human impacts.
Friends of Wabakimi (FOW) is launching our Woodland Caribou Survey Project in 2024. This is phase 1 for a multi-year effort to put paddlers into the forest to identify caribou presence and sign. A Steering Committee (CPSC), along with a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of recognized experts, are currently designing the project. The project would continue the volunteer spirit of The Wabakimi Project which successfully explored, mapped and improved canoe routes across this wider area.
Our goal: The Project goal is to equip and guide community scientists to collect data on the potential presence of woodland caribou in remote locations of the Wabakimi area, with a focus on calving sites. The hope is that this data may provide important information to conservation professionals, scientists, and policy makers to impact conservation strategies in the future.
The Grant: The Friends of Wabakimi (FOW) has applied for a grant from the Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program, Ontario’s new fund. This grant, if approved, will provide money to survey historical and potential caribou calving lakes for caribou evidence in areas on crown land around and near Wabakimi Provincial Park. This money will be used to fund, among other things; a project assistant, the purchase of needed supplies, provide pre-set group stipends to offset group costs and conduct winter aerial surveys (similar to those conducted by Wabakimi Provincial Park).
Timeline & Funding: FOW’s Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program will be formally announced in March 2024. However, FOW may not know if our funding request has been approved until possibly the last minute. Thus, the CPSC is proceeding with a plan to survey for caribou calving sites with or without a grant. If we receive grant funding, FOW will be able to more completely fund a project manager, purchase needed supplies and provide pre-set individual dollars which can be used to offset group expenses such as travel, lodging, equipment rental or flight/train ($$ TBD) as well as winter aerial surveys. If FOW does not receive grant funding, it is hoped that Fundraising efforts will help provide for priority items such as a project assistant, limited supplies, and possibly winter aerial surveys. With or without grant funding, the timeline will put us in a position to put teams into the field sometime after July 1, 2024.
Participants: Since this is a huge undertaking for an international volunteer organization, the first year will be dedicated to working out the details before opening up more widely to participants to ensure efficient and effective data collection. We're open to expressions of interest in this project, but we may be limited in what we can survey in the first year. Suffice it to say, this project is "under construction". Stay tuned for further announcements!
Please consider a donation to support this project!