Strategy Spotlight: Citizen Science

Several conservation organizations are developing ways to use technology to engage citizens in support of science-based conservation, while also compiling valuable data on fish and wildlife species and habitats. By participating in citizen science programs, which are designed to meet specific informational needs, the public’s sense of investment in public lands conservation should grow, resulting in stronger expectations and accountability for government conservation programs. These investments of personal time and resources by engaged citizens may then lead to growing public support for establishing substantial and reliable funding for science-driven conservation.

Citizen science projects result in data that can be used to fill data gaps in managing and understanding fish and wildlife species and their habitats. The Conservation Strategy recognizes citizen science as an extremely useful method for collecting data on Strategy Species. Data collected within citizen science projects have been incorporated into several ODFW projects, including the ODFW Crucial Habitat Assessment and the 2016 Conservation Opportunity Areas revision analysis.

Many partners recognize eBird as a powerful way to connect the birding community with both the conservation of species of greatest need and concern, and efforts to keep common birds common. Avian Knowledge Northwest has partnered with Pacific Northwest eBird in an effort to engage citizen scientists as a broad and supportive constituency for bird conservation, integrate monitoring into bird management and conservation practices, coordinate monitoring programs among organizations, and maintain monitoring data in modern data management systems for more effective data delivery.