To better understand the health of Calgary’s wetlands, Miistakis Institute, Enbridge, Parks Foundation Calgary, Alberta Conservation Association and the Calgary Zoo developed “Call of the Wetland”, a citizen science program that enabled the public to monitor amphibians as an important indicator of wetland health. There were 6 amphibian species that have historically been found in Calgary, however, prior to Call of the Wetland, it was unknown which still persist in our urban environment.
Call of the Wetland engaged Calgarians in understanding the health of wetlands through monitoring of amphibians and enabling a connection to nature in the City. The long term outcome of Call of the Wetland is to build off of the knowledge gained on amphibian presence to understand the health of wetlands within the City of Calgary, as well as to continue to foster a community of knowledgeable citizens to champion wetland protection and restoration.
Wetlands represent natural infrastructure that plays a significant role in contributing to the rain cycle, filter sediments and pollutants, and lessening the impacts of floods and drought. Despite their value, wetlands continue to be degraded and disappear due to habitat loss, fragmentation, pollution and climate change. In Calgary, 90% of pre-settlement wetlands have been lost. Wetland losses significantly impact biodiversity and ecosystem services important to human well-being. Action is needed by all stakeholders to maintain and restore wetlands in and around the City of Calgary.
The Parks Foundation Calgary is developing the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway Project (Greenway Project), a 138 km network of parks and pathways, encircling the City of Calgary. Along the pathway users will find unique amenities such as off-leash dog parks, family fitness parks, educational wetland interpretive areas, and unique play structures. As a sponsor of the Greenway Project, Enbridge's amenity was the development of Call of the Wetland, a citizen science program that enabled citizens to participate in environmental monitoring along the pathway system.
How the Data will be used
Data collected by volunteer citizen scientists was used to determine presence or absence of amphibian species in Calgary wetlands. The results are being used to help inform decisions regarding urban developments and urban environments and will be shared with the City of Calgary and Alberta Environment and Parks. The results will be available to the public through an online report on the results section of the website.
Partners and suporters
Call of the Wetland is partnership project including Miistakis Institute, Enbridge, Parks Foundation Calgary, Calgary Zoo, City of Calgary, and Alberta Conservation Association.
The program has received generous supported from Enbridge, The Calgary Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment, Alberta Innovates, Alberta Ecotrust, and RBC Foundation.
We would like to acknowledge Mount Royal University’s, Dr. Dorothy Hill’s and Dr. Melanie Rathburns Biology 3108 Conservation Biology course for their input on website content and review of survey methodology. In addition, the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Mount Royal University generously supported a summer intern to help manage the acoustic monitoring component of the program. STAR EcoWorks also contributed valuable time toward development of a solar system to operate two of our Acoustic Monitors.