Colorado Pika Project looking for volunteers to help with conservation efforts
In recent years, the climate crisis has negatively affected many ecosystems across the United States, including the Roaring Fork Valley. The Colorado Pika Project is trying to determine the effects climate change may have on the native American pika population.
The pika is a small mammal that looks similar to a larger chipmunk or small prairie dog. However, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pikas “are closely related to rabbits and hares.” The USDA also noted that disappearances of these mammals from the alpine fields in the area have been thought to be caused by “changes in temperature, snowpack and vegetation.”
Through the recruiting of “community scientists,” the project hopes to have a better understanding of how the pika population may be changing and what steps can be taken to conserve the animal’s ecosystem.
The Colorado Pika Project has partnered with the Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Wild to put on eight training sessions throughout the Rocky Mountains, to train volunteers on how to properly survey the many assigned pika monitoring sites throughout the nearby national forests.
A training session is occurring July 17 at Independence Pass, and the signup process is relatively easy at PikaPartners.org/involved. After the training, volunteers have the opportunity to survey a pika site located in either the White River National Forest or Rocky Mountain National Park anytime between early July and mid-September.
The Colorado Pika Project will soon be launching the Pika Patrol App for those who want to partake in the effort to monitor the pika population without attending a volunteer training session. The application, once launched, will allow users to record pika observations whenever they are out enjoying the mountains and wilderness.
To find out even more details about the efforts being taken to conserve the pika population as well as other training sessions, visit Pikapartners.org.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will continue to be closed due to “extreme damage” from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding Saturday night, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Sunday afternoon.