City Light’s Wildlife Research Program Awards Five Research Grants (Also, Cute Animal Photos)

At Seattle City Light, environmental responsibility is part of our mission. The same water that brings affordable hydroelectric power to our customers also provides for fish and wildlife in areas like the Skagit River Watershed. City Light’s stewardship of these lands is a duty and a privilege.

As part of City Light’s efforts to understand, manage and protect the ecosystem of the Skagit River Watershed, we established our Wildlife Research Program in 1995. The Wildlife Research Program provides grants which fund research throughout the North Cascades, with an emphasis on the Skagit River Watershed. You can see some of the wildlife images captured by researchers funded by past grants below.

In 2017, Seattle City Light awarded research grants to the five parties below:

  1. University of British Columbia Okanagan, Dr. Karen Hodges – “Determining the value of post-fire landscapes for American marten.” Very little is known about how the American marten responds to wildfires. This study is taking place in areas affected by fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
  2. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community – “Survival and recruitment of black-tailed deer fawns in the Nooksack and Sauk Game Management Units.” Aimed at the improved management of black-tailed deer, this study is taking place in the Skagit and Nooksack watersheds.
  3. U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station – “Mechanisms of Wood Decay in Pacific Northwest Snags.”  Tree cavities provide important habitat for more than one quarter of the wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Despite the importance of tree cavities for wildlife (e.g., woodpeckers, northern spotted owls, swallows, swifts, cavity-nesting ducks, bats, and small mammals), the ways in which decay fungi colonize trees and how those sites are found by woodpeckers are poorly understood.  This study will explore the role of fungi in creating these important habitats.
  4. University of Wisconsin, Dr. Sean D. Schoville – “Characterizing habitat connectivity and gene flow of the montane butterfly (Parnassius clodius) in the North Cascades.”  Increasingly, park managers need to monitor the diversity and abundance of species found in mountainous areas and understand how populations are interconnected. This study will measure connectivity among populations in the North Cascades, and identify the environmental variables which influence it.
  5. Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Dr. Taza Schaming – “Landscape scale movement, habitat selection and resource tracking by the Clark’s nutcracker, a conifer seed disperser.” The purpose of this study is to expand research started in the Yellowstone National Park into the North Cascades National Park to assess how Clark’s nutcracker, a keystone species in western North American forests, affects distribution of whitebark pine (a tree species that is being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act) through seed dispersal.

Are you a wildlife researcher interested in the ecosystem of the Northern Cascades? We’d love to see your proposal for a research grant. The schedule to apply for grants is listed here, and you can find our pre-proposal guidelines here.