Over the past 20 years many avid birders from NBC’s ranks have assisted with the annual Department of Fish and Game endangered bird nesting surveys here at Upper Newport Bay. Our Naturalists have also helped conduct the monthly Sea and Sage Audubon Society bird counts at UNB. Of particular importance is the annual census of the light-footed clapper rail conducted using consistent protocols for more than 20 years at as many as thirty coastal wetlands. The data allows comparison of populations from year to year and from location to location.
In 2009/10 a team of about 20 Naturalists led by Peter Ridley undertook an extensive 2-year Wild Life Survey (WLS) involving multiple mature native, degraded non-native, recently restored, and mature restored Coastal Sage Scrub (CSS) habitat around the Bay. A total of twenty-one 50 ft. line transects were established and both habitat and wildlife monitored periodically in accordance with rigorous written protocols developed by the team. The results were published in a poster presentation at the November 2010 Newport Bay Research Symposium. The key finding was that there is a statistically significant difference in invertebrate diversity between unrestored and restored CSS sites that demonstrates the importance of the restoration efforts. The UNB Restoration Team is currently working on defining questions that it would like to see answered by similar types of wildlife monitoring.
Other wildlife monitoring programs initiated by our Naturalists include the large mammal monitoring program set up by Dick Newell and Don Millar, which uses movement-activated cameras to provide important information about our local bobcats and other less-seen animals such as weasels.