Center for the Inland Bays seeking science survey volunteers for spring, summer 2021

Delaware News Desk
This marks the second year of the diamondback terrapin survey, and the first in which volunteers will be able to participate. Diamondback terrapins are an important salt marsh predator and are an iconic Inland Bays species, but little is known about their long-term population status and how that changes from year to year and place to place.
This marks the second year of the diamondback terrapin survey, and the first in which volunteers will be able to participate. Diamondback terrapins are an important salt marsh predator and are an iconic Inland Bays species, but little is known about their long-term population status and how that changes from year to year and place to place. By counting basking terrapins from sites on land or by pre-planned kayak routes, the center is aiming to get a better understanding of their local population and trends.
Every year, the center hosts several volunteer-driven surveys to collect data on important species, such as horseshoe crabs and diamondback terrapins, as indicators of the health of their coastal environments. That information in turn can help scientists and decision-makers identify and effectively plan restoration and conservation efforts.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is continuing preparations for the 2021 survey season by hosting additional trainings for volunteer participants this April.  

Every year, the center hosts several volunteer-driven surveys to collect data on important species, such as horseshoe crabs and diamondback terrapins, as indicators of the health of their coastal environments. That information in turn can help scientists and decision-makers identify and effectively plan restoration and conservation efforts. 

“Volunteers are the heartbeat of the center, and we rely on them to conduct these important surveys,” said Project Manager Nivette Pérez-Pérez. “The surveys are a great way for people to learn more about the natural habitats of our bays, and the volunteers find it rewarding to play such an important role in local science and restoration efforts.”  

In April, the center will train volunteers how to participate in three additional citizen science surveys that will collect information about diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs and reforestation efforts. 

This marks the second year of the diamondback terrapin survey, and the first in which volunteers will be able to participate. Diamondback terrapins are an important salt marsh predator and are an iconic Inland Bays species, but little is known about their long-term population status and how that changes from year to year and place to place. Terrapins also face a number of serious threats, including habitat loss and collisions with motor vehicles. By counting basking terrapins from sites on land or by pre-planned kayak routes, the center is aiming to get a better understanding of their local population and trends.  

For more than a decade, the center has been collecting vital information about the horseshoe crabs that spawn each spring in the Inland Bays through its volunteer horseshoe crab survey. For three nights at high tide around the first full and new moon starting in late April, volunteers will meet on six beaches around the Inland Bays. With flashlights in hand and bug repellent in their pockets, they will count the number of horseshoe crabs, collect additional data on this iconic species and even tag some horseshoe crabs to better understand their movements in the bays and nearby estuaries.  

The reforestation survey plays a key role in tracking the successes and challenges of reforestation projects throughout the watershed. Reforestation is a cost-effective way not only to provide additional habitat for wildlife, including rare and threatened species, but also improve water quality by capturing excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.  

Survey trainings will be held online through Zoom. Registration is required, and volunteers must fill out a volunteer application and waivers, all of which are available online at inlandbays.org/volunteer.  

Training for the volunteer horseshoe crab survey virtual training will be held at 6 p.m. April 14. Register at tinyurl.com/horseshoecrabsurveytraining; for more, visit inlandbays.org/horseshoe-crab-survey.  

Training for the reforestation survey will be held at 7 p.m. April 15. Register at tinyurl.com/reforestationsurvey. 

Training for the Diamondback Terrapin Survey will be held at 6 p.m. April 28. Register at tinyurl.com/terrapinsurvey; for more, visit inlandbays.org/terrapins.  

Additional trainings for the center’s new Osprey Survey, James Farm Docent Program and Shorezone Fish & Blue Crab Survey were held in March.  

For more on participating in the center’s volunteer programs, visit inlandbays.org/volunteer or email volunteer@inlandbays.org.