Projects Funded with RMGA Conservation Dollars
Goat Alliance has long been known for their backcountry volunteer projects and public outreach and educational materials. Thanks to our supporting members and sponsors, we have recently been able to fund specific research and fieldwork beyond building our organization and hosting our own projects. When funds are requested, the proposal is first analyzed by the RMGA Conservation Committee. After all project costs and details are understood and all questions answered, the committee takes a vote. Research supported by the Conservation Committees is then passed to the Board of Directors for final funding approval.
This educational film took years in the making. Although these materials previously exists scattered across managing agencies, they were all outdated and poorly consolidated. Starting in with winter of 2015, RMGA began collaborations with Seacat Creative to produce a cutting-edge educational film available free to the public. The final production is a world-class collection of mountain goat gender identification materials wonderfully narrated by our good friend, Steve Rinella. RMGA conservation dollars made this film possible and is an asset to mountain goat populations across the continent.
Laura Balyx previously applied for an RMGA Science and Conservation grant to help fund the research for her thesis project. Balyx’s project focused on understanding the response of mountain goats to these disturbances for conserving future populations and managing anthropogenic disturbance in protected areas. Her project was a unique opportunity to study mountain goats in a protected area (Cathedral Provincial Park (CPP), British Columbia, Canada) where the herd interacts with both people and helicopters.
The full thesis can be read here.
Interactions between American pikas and mountain goats
In 2021, Mallory Lambert applied for a RMGA Science and Conservation grant. Lambert’s project intends to study the ecological and behavioural interactions between mountain goats and American pikas; they are sympatric across most of their overlapping distributions, but historically their interactions have not
been studied. Lambert hopes to provide insight to improve success rates of mountain goat transplants while minimizing negative impacts on pikas.
Full report available to RMGA members.
In 2021, Sandra Hamel applied for an RMGA Science and Conservation grant. Her proposed project included monitoring marked animals within the only mountain goat population that has been intensely studied for over 30 years, in Caw Ridge. The goal was to increase knowledge on population demography and the factors that affect the variation in population dynamics and individual traits. They can use this new information to recommend management and conservation options.
Full report available to RMGA members.
RMGA conservation dollars were utilized at the 2019 capture to purchase everything from GPS collars for Washington Department of Game & Fish, to an additional veterinarian to help process animals, as well as funding the attendance of biologists Tom Stevenson and Kevin White to further develop their ultrasound body condition measuring techniques.
The RMGA Conservation Fund generously provided funding to support the translocation efforts of mountain goats from the Olympic Peninsula to their native Cascade mountain range. As a result of this support, Dr. Katie Haman, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Wildlife Veterinarian, was able to participate in these captures, providing much needed veterinary support to ensure the humane capture, treatment and health assessment of translocated goats.
I was lucky enough to receive a grant from the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance to support my research allowing me to travel to complete field work related to a mountain goat project in northwestern British Columbia. The field work allowed us to perform additional analyses and expand the dataset that I will produce for my thesis. Generally, my research focusses on using genetics and genomics to characterize population structure of mountain goats in northern British Columbia to inform population management efforts.
Unfortunately, a reality of drugging and relocating wild animals is that not 100% of them survive. What is to become of these expired animals? The RMGA recently funded for Conservation Committee member, Kevin White of Alaska Department of Fish and Game, to travel to Washington with his colleagues Tom and Kathleen Stephenson (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) and Yasaman Shakeri (Alaska Department of Fish and Game) to make sure these valuable specimens would contribute to important scientific studies and did not go to waste.
Skeena region wildlife biologist, Krystal Dixon, has partnered with Dr. Aaron Shafer of Trent University to examine movements of specific populations of mountain goats. This project has benefitted from financial support provided by the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance, the British Columbia Mountain Goat Society and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation of BC, taking mountain goat management in Skeena to the next level.
Kenai Mountains Mountain Goat Research Project Update Mountain goats inhabiting Alaska’s Kenai Mountains represent the westernmost naturally occurring goat population in North America. Mountain goats inhabit most areas within the Kenai Mountains including parts of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Chugach National Forest, and Kenai Fjords National Park. Goat densities are highest in coastal areas and lower in the interior mountains, where goats coexist with Dall sheep and caribou. Relatively little is known about this unique goat population and, in an effort to improve our understanding of goat ecology in this mountain range, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Chugach National Forest, and Kenai Fjords National Park have partnered to initiate a cooperative research project focused on mountain goats. Financial contributions from the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance to purchase additional radio-collars were instrumental in getting the project up and running this year.
RMGA dollars were used for the purchasing of GPS collars on Utah's Wasatch Front to further study the region's increasing dispersal of mountain goats. Goats were captured and collared in the winter of 2017 and ongoing research is providing detailed updates on the animals movements mostly in the souther portions of the front.