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Wildlife monitoring program

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Restoring the landscape    Wildlife monitoring

Amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds provide important information about the progress of Metro's restoration efforts.

New opportunity

Amphibian egg mass monitor

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Metro’s volunteer wildlife monitoring program provides valuable information about Metro’s natural areas while offering a unique and in-depth service opportunity for community members. By focusing on indicator species, such as amphibians and birds, volunteers provide data to help Metro’s science and stewardship team gauge the progress of its restoration efforts and track the effects of public use on wildlife.

Volunteers make the difference

Metro initiated the volunteer-supported wildlife monitoring program in 2000 and expanded it through partnerships with Northwest Service Academy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2009, 90 volunteers helped monitor wildlife populations at 15 different Metro natural areas, contributing more than 950 hours.

Photograph of a Metro natural area

Metro selected breeding bird and pond-breeding amphibian populations as its focal wildlife indicators but tracks other groups such as native squirrel and waterbird populations. These groups are relatively easy and inexpensive to track using standardized methods, allow safe participation of volunteers yielding reliable population data, and facilitate an evaluation of sensitive wildlife indicators representing both resident (amphibians) and migratory (birds) species among a broad array of habitat types.

Volunteers are trained to collect data using avian point-count sampling, winter waterfowl surveys, amphibian egg mass surveys and other field methodologies. While the amphibian egg mass surveys have supported dramatic findings after only a few years, the true value of much of the data will be realized after many years of monitoring.

From data to grant dollars 

Data collected by volunteers helps guide site restoration and development, and has also proven very useful for securing restoration grant funding. For example, data supporting large expansions of Northern red-legged frog populations responding to Metro’s restoration of 150 acres of floodplain wetlands at its Multnomah Channel Natural Area have helped Metro raise nearly $400,000 to support additional wetlands restoration at the site.

See nature up close and personal

There are a number of ways to get involved in Metro's volunteer-mediated wildlife monitoring program. Most opportunities are seasonal. If you are interested in any of the following volunteer positions, contact Katy Weil at 503-797-1688 or email to for more information.


Data entry

Year-round opportunity
Detail oriented? Metro is seeking volunteers with good computer skills to input and manage data entry for all monitoring information collected.

Wildlife monitors

Amphibian monitors

Late January through April
Each year a courageous team of volunteer wildlife monitors search the wintry waters within Metro’s natural areas for frog and salamander egg masses. A team of twenty to fifty volunteers give at least twenty hours of their time surveying for a variety of amphibian species between February and April. Join the volunteer team and help make a difference in natural area restoration. Training will be provided including amphibian identification, survey techniques, and field methodologies.

Western bluebird

Avian monitors

Mid-May through end of June, and November through February
Are you able to identify birds by sight and sound? If so, please consider joining our team of avian monitors. Metro seeks enthusiastic, responsible people with intermediate to expert bird identification skills. Volunteer monitors will adopt one of ten natural areas for seasonal and year-round monitoring of waterfowl and breeding bird species. Winter waterfowl surveys begin in late fall and continue through spring. Breeding bird surveys are conducted during the peak of the breeding season, mid-May through the end of June, and follow a specific habitat-based protocol.


January through June
Looking for an internship opportunity? Each year Metro recruits volunteer interns to assist the wildlife monitoring program. Interns act as a liaison between Metro staff and volunteers, providing the necessary motivation and guidance to ensure that assigned sites are properly monitored, safety rules are followed and volunteers have a positive experience. The interns also conduct occasional site visits, perform monitoring as needed and collect and process information from volunteers. Interns need to be available approximately 10 hours per week from January through July to support amphibian and avian monitoring.

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Katy Weil

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503-797-1804 TDD
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