Paddling is a great way to enjoy Indiana’s natural beauty, observe wildlife, and connect with nature. Indiana paddlers have a unique opportunity to observe wildlife while enjoying Indiana’s countless water resources. Indiana DNR would like more information about the wildlife that spend time around Indiana’s waterways. The Indiana Paddlecraft Wildlife Index compiles wildlife observations from people who use canoes, kayaks, or other non-motorized paddlecraft on Indiana’s waterways. Volunteer paddlers can help by completing a paddling trip postcard documenting the wildlife they observed while floating from June 1 to July 31.
The DNR has selected some key species that are either challenging to study or are lacking Indiana-specific information. The species selected are also those paddlers may be able to easily identify. These include: Bald Eagle, Blanding’s Turtle, Beaver, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Kingfisher, Mink, Muskrat, Osprey, Painted Turtle, Red Eared Slider, & River Otter.
What do biologists do with this data?
The Paddlecraft Wildlife Index documents the number of wildlife seen per hours floated and per miles floated. After several years, these numbers will allow wildlife managers to estimate changes in key wildlife populations over time. With paddlers’ help, Indiana DNR may also gain insight into new locations where this wildlife is living.
How can I help?
Hoosiers who paddle can help Indiana DNR to collect information that will help Indiana manage wildlife for future generations. If you are a paddler and enjoy wildlife watching while paddling, this might be the volunteer opportunity for you. Forms, instructions, and simple identification keys for the selected wildlife to monitor will be mailed a few weeks before the survey period begins.
More information here: www.in.gov/dnr/fish-and-wildlife/wildlife-resources/paddlecraft-wildlife-index