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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pika project report

In the upcoming issue of The Wild Cascades, look for a report on the 2012 Pika Project in North Fork Bridge Creek valley of NCNP. Here's an excerpt:
North Fork Bridge Creek, upper valley near our base camp
The goal was to locate four or five  “patches” where temperature loggers had been installed on talus slopes known to be pika habitat, and install recharged loggers for another year’s monitoring. A pair of the little sealed metal units are put in each spot, one on a surface rock under a set of wind and sun shields that look like a stack of inverted plastic pie pans, tied to the rock they sit on, and the other dropped about 24” into a nearby gap between boulders, where it’s cooler.
Roger Christoperhsen, NPS Biologist, anchors a data logger
That combination gives  biologists the most useful temperature info about the surface and at some depth where the pika were likely to be this time of year. As long as we could find exactly the same locations, the new readings would be consistent with those taken in prior years and the data would be useful. Any variation of sensor locations would leave the study results open to criticism, which in these days of climate research – well, let’s just say there’s no room for any “benefit of the doubt” in that field!
Two researchers perched on a boulder in search of pika sign





NOTE: Current funding may not be adequate for replacements of any hardware that fails. Also, having the volunteers needed to install and retrieve the loggers and survey the talus fields is crucial. Your donations and volunteering can make all the difference!
To contribute to the Pika Project, contact
North Cascades National Park,  360-854-7200
http://www.nps.gov/noca/naturescience/current-research.htm
Email: Roger_Christophersen@nps.gov
More general info:
North Cascades Institute, 360-854-2599
http://ncascades.org/signup/programs/citizen-science
For more photos, visit http://tinyurl.com/pikaproject
More information: http://www.beartoothwildliferesearch.com/projects.htm

[For the official research summary, see http://www.nps.gov/noca/naturescience/upload/Pika-Resource-Brief-2011.pdf]

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