Cuyahoga Valley National Park is hosting its first “Bio-Blitz” starting tomorrow at noon.
The 24-hour BioBlitz is being led by 70 scientists who will do everything from counting and cataloging the fish in Indigo Lake to identifying the types of spiders at Virginia Kendall Ledges.
The project is part of the National Park Service's centennial. Spokeswoman Jennie Vasarhelyi says the parks regularly catalog species, but never on such a large scale as with the BioBlitz. And she hopes the event will give a clearer picture of how the area has responded since 1974, when Cuyahoga Valley National Park was established.
“We’re hoping to see lots of species that like to live in water where there isn’t pollution. We’re finding lots of lichens, for example, that are sensitive to air pollution, to really show to us, indeed, that nature is starting to recover here.
“Having a park like this as a reservoir [and] a refuge for species where we can have a healthy population with good genetic diversity, we just increase the chance of species being able to survive in the face of all of these impacts.”
Vasarhelyi adds that there are many volunteer slots open for the BioBlitz, with each inventory taking about two hours. At the same time, the park is hosting a BioDiversity Festival, which features music, food and hands-on exhibits.