Getting the most out of your Monitoring Cameras: A Practical Workshop for Transportation Ecologists

Julia Kintsch, Eco-Resolutions
Date From
Date To
Big Sur

This 90-minute workshop will focus on objective-based camera monitoring techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife mitigation. The workshop will include discussions about monitoring existing bridges and culverts, pre-construction monitoring and post-construction monitoring, as well as the use of photographic data to communicate about mitigation projects with the public and decision-makers. Specifically, the workshop will discuss the equipment, monitoring techniques, data processing and database management strategies that may be employed for different applications, based on the landscape, target species and monitoring objectives. The workshop is designed to provide participants with practical considerations for developing a camera monitoring project of their own and will also offer a forum for participants to share their experiences.
The workshop will be structured in three segments. The first segment will address the need to clearly define monitoring objectives at the outset, as these objectives will influence each subsequent step in the development of a camera monitoring program. Monitoring objectives may include research goals, public communication goals or, in many instances, a combination of the two. Monitoring objectives are also shaped by the target species and the mitigation goals for those target species.
The second segment will consider how monitoring objectives determine study design, including the selection of camera equipment, camera set-up and settings, as well as logistical challenges that may be encountered. A variety of monitoring cameras are now available on the market, each with its pros and cons. Selecting the most appropriate camera type for a given application is a critical step to ensure the best use of research dollars. Camera set-up likewise depend on the objectives of the monitoring effort. Camera placement is determined based on the size and type of the mitigation structure being monitored as well as the target species. For example, while ungulates and large carnivores can trigger a motion-activated camera, smaller fauna such as salamanders and snakes may be best captured using time-lapse techniques. Similarly, camera settings are determined by target species considerations, the landscape and roadway setting and other project-specific variables.
The third and final segment will address the handling of the immense amount of photographic data that can result from camera monitoring. Discussion topics will include pre-processing photos to ease data entry, including both automated and manual techniques; data entry and training technicians for consistency in data entry; and database management, including the use of on online or cloud-based databases. This segment will also highlight the value of standardized practices and objective techniques for entering and analyzing photographic data. The presenters will advise on systematic data analysis and reporting for scientific studies and comparisons across studies.