RINS at Work
The Award Winning Raptor Inventory Nest Survey (RINS) collects and manages vital data regarding the nesting ecology of eagles, falcons, hawks, osprey and owls. RINS is an all-volunteer organization concerned with all species of birds of prey that nest throughout Utah.
RINS offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to participate in scientific research as “citizen scientists“ in a long-term raptor nest monitoring project. Since RINS’ beginnings in 2000, a dedicated corps of over 2,000 volunteers have contributed 161,366 hours collecting and processing data. This same group of volunteers has driven 1,550,255 miles to monitor raptor nests throughout nine BLM Field Office jurisdictions in Utah. A conservative valuation estimate of this exemplary effort is $4,303,078. This data collection effort has resulted in the largest comprehensive raptor database in the State of Utah with over 6,672 nests and 82,119 monitoring records.
The geographic scope of the RINS project has expanded exponentially over time. In 2000, RINS began monitoring Tooele, Rich, Summit, Wasatch, Utah, Salt Lake, Morgan and Weber counties. In 2008, Millard and Juab counties were added to the effort. Then in 2012, Box Elder, Duchesne, Daggett, Uintah, Carbon, Emery, Sanpete, San Juan and Grand counties were added. In 2018 Beaver, Iron and Washington counties were added to the roster of now 26 counties monitored by RINS volunteers.
A state of the art online data entry system began development in 2005, and became fully functional by 2008 for use by volunteers. This data system provides real-time access to monitoring data, volunteer activity and current reports. Long-term use of this information provides a broad range of applications, including agency land management, protection of raptor species, trends in raptor dynamics, and information on specific raptor species. RINS data has allowed land managers to protect active nests and prime nesting habitat from threats such as wild fires, human activity, electrocutions and power line strikes. It provides data where action can be taken proactively to protect nest sites and prime raptor habitat.
Within the scope of the project, outreach is extremely important therefore RINS provides in-depth training in classroom settings, interactive workshops and field training. This aspect of the project is essential to developing a highly qualified monitoring program. Training sessions are conducted in key cities and towns throughout the geographic scope where RINS conducts raptor surveys. This opens up opportunities for residents across the State of Utah to participate in the project and receive interesting and useful information from the training.
Since 2000, a dedicated group of 2,091 volunteers have:
- Spent 161,366 hours collecting and processing raptor data.
- Traveled a total of 1,550,255 miles through 2018.
- Accumulated a project valuation of $4,303,078.
- Monitored raptor nests across 26 counties in Utah on both public and private land.
- Managed the largest raptor nest databases in the state with over 6,386 nests and 82,119 monitoring records.
- Checked an average of 2,400 historic nests annually.
With volunteers from all walks of life, RINS volunteers constitute a diverse and highly trained community of citizens who also contribute to outreach and communication about raptors thus extending the education to other people in their communities about this important aspect of the natural world we all share.
RINS has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management since 2000, and RINS’ data is utilized by land managers to help make informed decisions.
RINS also collaborates with other organization’s environmental teams regarding issues of raptor protection including: Department of Defense, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Resources, HawkWatch International, Rocky Mountain Power, and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). RINS also supports the work of Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, Great Basin Wildlife Rescue, Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation, and Southwest Wildlife Foundation.