Bait site at Ralston Buttes. Park or front range study Bait site at Ralston Buttes as part of CDOW study
Bait site- Ralston
Coyote and skunk at Ralston bait site
Foax and skunk at Ralston site
Bobcat and skunk at bait site at Ralston
Spotted skunk at Ralston Buttes (also seem at Hildrebrand and Lacy property- Coal Creek Canyon
Golden eagle at bait site- Ralston Buttes
Red tailed hawk
Turkey vultures at Lacy propery, Coal Creek
The cameras were used to address 3 main objectives. Monitor change in wildlife activity before and after change in fence. Site 1 originally had a tall gate that was reduced to a shortened fence opening. The PMP team is wrestling with a desire to allow wildlife freer movement across the Nature Center grounds. The fence has a historic value associated with the Boetcher Mansion as well as defining property boundaries. Monitor species movement Monitor human uses at openings. There are concerns with the development of social trails, dogs, and facility safety.
4 cameras were used for about a year and a half. We collected over 5,000 photos. After analyzing the photos, we recorded over 1,000 unique records. A unique record indicates when a species was moving, or active, passing by a camera. A herd of 20 elk crossing the camera may record several photos, but it represents only 1 unique record. Cameras were out on the site for over 1800 trap nights, or 24 hours periods. After taking out the times when cameras were not functioning, the actual number of active trap nights was over 1400. The capture rate average from all 4 cameras is 75%. The capture rate is the number of unique records divided by the actual trap nights. Again, this does not represent numbers of individuals. 75% capture rate means that wildlife would be caught by the cameras 3 times out of 4 days.
There of course is room for error in these surveys. Batteries do not function well in cold winter temperatures. Shutter speeds might slow down, or just not be fast enough to catch a species running across the infra-red beam. Some species find ways to go around the camera, such as foxes and coyotes. All in all, capture rates are likely much lower than actual use.
Note fox numbers
The yellow and pink bars are dog and human records at the cameras. The main human use corresponds with the low wildlife use. This makes me wonder if the wildlife have changed their behavior somewhat to avoid periods of activity when people are most active.
This graph compares LKT wildlife use with the same species of wildlife, but from surveys that are in remote areas of our system.
This graph compares LKT wildlife use with the same species of wildlife, but from surveys that are in remote areas of our system. Note that wildlife use when people are around at LMNC declines during the day more so than remote areas.
People and dogs were only recorded at Locations 1 and 4. About once every 10 days, a person or persons entered or left through this gap. Note that there are not posted signs prohibiting this activity. There is a path along the road, and a trail less than 50 yards away.
This looks at if wildilfe are moving in one direction or another at certain times of the day. Deer are moving west around 7 and to the east at about 8 at night.
Elk moving east in from about 8 p.m. to midnight and then moving west early in the moring around 5 a.m.
Bulls move in during mating season in the fall.
Bear also moving east and west in similar patterns as deer and elk
General moving east at dusk and west at dawn.
Although movement is significant at night, it does occur often during park hours.
So human impact on wildlife has to be considered
Man made objects like the fence and it’s impacts on wildlife.
Injured elk at LMNC
Has trail planning and management implications
As a result of significant wildlife movement demonstated by the wildlife cameras, decisions were made to not put a trail in this area at Hildebrand
Closer to home here, Elk Meadow research is happening.
Camera on forest edge at Elk
Still human use and dogs off leash which cause problems for wildlife
Unlike Hildebrand- considerable movement and activity during the day
Critical water hole- note nursing calf
Dominant species in this area
Actively feeding the summer, mating in the fall, having young in spring (probably why April is low).
Bulls move in for mating in the early fall. Males expend a lot of energy during mating season and are not feeding as much so go into winter weaker and some die, but genes pass on during mating.
Cows during mating season
Black bears in “big hole” area of Mt. Falcon area.
Ring tailed cat at Ralston Buttes
Lion at Ralston
Bobcat at ralston
Coyote at ralston
Domestic cat at Ralston
Beavers at Lair
Mule deer on left, white tail on right
Evergreen Garden Club Wildlife Camera Program
Using Cameras for Wildlife Research, Management, and Education in Jefferson County Open Space Parks Tim Sandsmark, Administrator Lookout Mountain Nature Center, Jefferson County Open Space Special thanks to Bryan Posthumus, Natural Resource Specialist, Jeffco Open Space
Benefits of Camera Surveys <ul><li>Medium to large mammals </li></ul><ul><li>Rare or secretive species </li></ul><ul><li>24 hour surveillance </li></ul><ul><li>Survey areas with difficult access. </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost- 1 digital camera~1 week seasonal pay </li></ul>
Appropriate Uses <ul><li>Monitors Activity </li></ul><ul><li>Limits to Population Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Game Trails </li></ul><ul><li>Movement Corridors </li></ul><ul><li>Seasonal, Spatial, Temporal Use </li></ul><ul><li>Bait Sites </li></ul>
Visitor Use Impacts? 33.5 14,090 South Valley Combined 14.3 9.7 5,988 4,086 South Valley South Lot 19.3 13.5 8,087 5,657 South Valley North Lot 23.26 14.7 9,768 6,175 Deer Creek Park Maximum Visitors/Hour Mean Visitors/Hour Maximum Monthly Visitation Mean Monthly Visitation Location
Deer and Elk Hours of Movement Backcountry vs. Human Use Areas Noon Midnight