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Survey Guidelines & Policies and Procedures

Coastal Wetlands of Lake Superior © Justin Meissen

Survey Guidelines

1. Respect the welfare of the animals and their habitats

a. It is illegal to harm, harass, capture or kill most species of reptiles and amphibians under the provincial Endangered Species Act, the federal Species at Risk Act and the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

b. Take all precautions necessary to avoid damage to the habitat of the species you are searching for. Never trample sensitive areas, remove vegetation or alter habitat in any way during surveys. Never make the locations of rare species publicly available. Poaching is a serious threat to many species of reptiles in Ontario.

2. Respect property rights

a. If you wish to survey private property, make sure that you obtain prior permission from the landowner.

b. Respect the rules and permitted activities of the areas you are surveying. For example, many provincial parks, national parks or other privately owned reserves ask that you remain on marked trails to avoid trampling habitat.

3. Always put safety first

a. Make sure you let someone know where you are going before heading out in the field.

b. Always take a compass with you to avoid getting lost and familiarize yourself with the area ahead of time using topographic maps or Google Earth.

c. Bring – at a minimum – a whistle, first aid kit and bear protection when out in the field.

4. Encourage reptile and amphibian stewardship and conservation

a. Please take the time to explain the atlas project to interested people and encourage them to participate.

b. Discuss reptile and amphibian conservation with others and provide information about local species (except the locations of rare species), conservation issues, threats and stewardship opportunities.

Policies and Procedures

Please review our policies on data, liability and privacy, as well as guidelines for conducting surveys for this atlas project. Your acknowledgement and consent with these policies and guidelines is required to submit data.

  1. Ownership and use of data
    By submitting data to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) program, you are giving Ontario Nature the right to include that data in the atlas or any related reports, publications or other products that result from the ORAA program. Data submitted to the ORAA will be peer-reviewed for accuracy and completeness by expert herpetologists. We reserve the right to include or exclude data based on the completeness and accuracy of the data. Distribution or species occurrence maps produced using these data may not be reproduced for publication without our prior consent. All data collected by the ORAA program will be shared with the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC). The NHIC is responsible for tracking the occurrence of all rare species in Ontario (known as “tracked species”). The atlas project will NOT distribute any species-at-risk data to the public, and occurrence data will only be displayed to the public as 10 x 10 km squares in range maps. Any further distribution of that data by the NHIC will follow the strict NHIC/MNR data sensitivity policy.
  2. Privacy policy
    The ORAA program reserves the right to contact atlas participants for additional information. Unless you indicate otherwise in writing, your name may be included in data summaries, reports, any data products and in the database. This will be shared with the NHIC and other partner organizations. Personal information such as names, address, email, and phone number will be used for the above-mentioned purposes only.
  3. Injury liability
    As a volunteer participant in the ORAA you are fully responsible for your own safety and personal insurance in case of injury. You are not considered an employee of the ORAA, Ontario Nature, or any of our partners or sponsors. Additionally, we are not responsible for damage incurred to vehicles, equipment or personal belongings.

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