This story was written by Loren Valliere, NH Fish and Game Biological Technician and posted in the Taking Action for Wildlife Fall 2014 Newsletter. Photos by Ellen Snyder.
The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is excited to announce the release of its updated online reporting system, NH Wildlife Sightings. For those who have used the site previously, you’ll enjoy an updated look and feel, drop-down menus and check-offs that make it even easier to report your wildlife observations. For anyone who hasn’t used the site before—now is the time to start!
NH Wildlife Sightings is the place where your observations are connected directly with the biologists who study and track NH’s wildlife species. Perhaps one summer you come across a green snake in your yard— biologists can use that information to better understand the range of green snakes in the state. Or maybe over the next few years you keep track of the different turtle species you see at your favorite fishing spot. This information is useful to biologists and fun for wildlife observers.
The process is simple and has been made more user-friendly in the updated version of the site: http://nhwildlifesightings.unh.edu. When you see any species of interest while you’re out, snap a picture and take note of the location. NH Fish and Game has resources on their webpage to help you identify what you see. When you login to the NH Wildlife Sightings page, you can enter location information and upload your photographs. Once submitted, biologists review the information, which is used by the NH Fish & Game Department to help assess the status of wildlife and evaluate appropriate conservation strategies.
The updated site includes color photographs and a new look. The Google-powered mapping system allows you to search using an address, and add or take away map layers to pinpoint your location more accurately. Now reporters can enter vernal pool locations and associated wildlife species (stay tuned—an updated vernal pool manual is coming soon!). Once logged in, users can see and download all of their wildlife observations and vernal pool reports on a map and table located on their homepage.
Reporters can also view updated town distribution maps for all species eligible for reporting. Biologists are able to change which species are eligible for reporting as the need or interest arises. As projects change, and when the new 2015 Wildlife Action Plan identifies an updated list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need, the site can be updated to include these.
NH Wildlife Sightings was first created through a joint effort of the NH Fish & Game Department, UNH Earth Systems Research Center, NH Natural Heritage Bureau, NH Audubon Society, and UNH Cooperative Extension. The site is hosted by GRANIT at the UNH Earth Systems Research Center. Site improvements made during 2014 were funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service – State Wildlife Grants, and NH conservation license plate funds.
Remember -- when you start hearing peepers calling next spring, or the next time a dragonfly lands on your fishing rod, report it using NH Wildlife Sightings!