ISLIP, NY, February 23, 2022: Seatuck’s Long Island River Otter Project has published a manual to assist natural resource staff and volunteers interested in monitoring existing otter sites on Long Island and surveying for new sites as otters continue to expand their distribution here.
Unregulated hunting and trapping, habitat loss and water pollution resulted in a dramatic decline in the population of the North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) throughout its range in the United States and Canada. They were considered extirpated from Long Island by the early 1800s.
Their population has slowly recovered with the implementation of conservation laws and reintroduction programs. Their distribution on Long Island was first documented in 2008, after an absence of nearly two centuries. Otters continue to expand their range here with much suitable otter habitat still unoccupied, particularly on the south shore.
The Otter Sign and Survey Manual can be downloaded here.
According to Seatuck’s wildlife biologist Mike Bottini, over one hundred natural resource staff and volunteers have contributed valuable otter sign and sighting information to the survey effort. Additional training opportunities have been scheduled for spring of 2022.
Otter Sign and Survey Workshop schedule:
· Saturday March 19 (10 am – noon) at Swan Lake, Calverton
· Saturday March 26 (10 am – noon) at Crab Meadow, Northport
· Saturday April 2 (10 am – noon) at Long Pond Greenbelt, Bridgehampton
Registration required. To register and for meeting locations contact Mike Bottini at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Long Island River Otter Project is one of several important conservation projects spearheaded by Seatuck and utilizing citizen scientist volunteers. “Monitoring wildlife and its habitat and engaging community scientists are critical components of Seatuck’s work on Long Island,” said Seatuck Executive Director Enrico Nardone.