Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation has received an $8,000 grant from the Edey Foundation for a coastal otter research project led by biologist Luanne Johnson, to document the diet and habitat of river otters on the Vineyard. The community-based project asks Island residents, conservation groups, teachers and students to help map otter trails and latrines and help analyze otter diets.

The researchers are creating the first map of otter habitat on the Vineyard, depicting latrine sites, dens and paths and the amount of otter activity found in each location, as well as detailing the diet of Island river otters. A general summary of the project will be available to the public at its completion, when the map will become available to Island conservation groups and researchers.

Otters are the top predators in the Island’s coastal ponds. Sheriff’s Meadow properties included in this study are Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary, Quansoo Farm and Hidden Cove Preserve.