HSU Citizen Science River Otter Study
“I remember all my encounters with river otters really well. It is always special for me.”– Citizen Scientist
The HSU citizen science River otter project is, just that, a citizen science project that was designed in 1999 by Dr. Jeff Black, a Wildlife Biologist at Humboldt State University. The goal of the study is to learn more about river otters on the coasts, wetlands and watersheds in Humboldt, Del Norte and adjacent counties.
For over 20 years, thousands of community members, who we call ‘citizen scientists’ or ‘community scientists’ continue to report observations of wild river otters seen on the north coast, making this long-term and wide-ranging study of our local river otters possible.
Results from the HSU Citizen Science River Otter Study
These results come from a series of studies conducted by project leads between 1999-2020 utilizing river otter data submitted by citizen scientists and additional student led research.
In total, citizen-science volunteers have reported 6,120 River Otter observations to the study.
The number of community otter spotters is increasing annually with an average of 200 observers per year. Join this growing community by submitting your next river otter observation!
During the study, 148 litters were identified in 39 watercourses. Litter size ranged from 1 to 4 pups and did not vary significantly among years or waterbodies.
DNA extracted from river otter scat (poop) found at latrines (communal bathrooms) confirms the usefulness of long term citizen science efforts, which provides an index of the population on the North Coast.
How to use the map
Select: to view and select by different observation years and stories of people, places, and otters
Select: to change the background map
Select: to click on the to read stories from project participants and leads
Select: to move around on the map
Select: to zoom in
Select: to zoom out
Primary study area
Map created by Karlee Jewell using ArcGIS Pro version 2.5.1 and contain GIS data layers collected between 2015-2020 from the HSU Citizen Science River Otter Study.