Ontario Nature is working on developing a Long-term monitoring protocol (LTMP) for snakes that we piloted in 2018 at various sites across southern Ontario. We are looking to expand the number of sites for 2019 to include Lost Bay Nature reserve.
As you may already know, in Ontario, population trend data does not exist for many snake species, causing difficulties when assessing their conservation status, especially cryptic and lesser-studied species. There is a need for widespread, standardized, long-term monitoring protocols for snakes in order to gather baseline information about Ontario's snake populations.
The LTMP that we've been piloting uses cover board transects to monitor snakes. A total of 24 cover boards are placed in suitable habitat, and checked between May 1 and July 15 for a total of 8 surveys per site (with 5-9 days between each survey – ideally surveys should be spaced apart by one week). We also collect habitat data for each site, and during each survey record temperature and weather data, as well as survey effort.
The long-term goal of these protocols will be to develop and implement a widespread monitoring program for Ontario's snakes that will be capable of detecting a population decline of 10% or greater. Through collaborations with partner organizations and individuals, we will collect standardized data that addresses knowledge gaps and helps to monitor Ontario's snakes.
Please let me know if you think this project is of interest and whether someone would be able to check the boards on a weekly basis from May 1 to July 15. Ontario Nature staff would be able train participants, but unfortunately we will not be able to visit the boards during the monitoring period
Smera Sukumar, Conservation Projects Coordinator
Tel: 416-444-8419 ext. 238 | Toll free: 1-800-440-2366 | firstname.lastname@example.org
214 King Street West, Suite 612 | Toronto, ON M5H 3S6 | www.ontarionature.org