By Rob Spangler, USFWS pilot biologist
, Western Dakotas and Eastern Montana
This morning we kicked off the 2014 Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. We took off out of Pierre, South Dakota and flew almost directly west for our first transect line. We were encouraged to see the good habitat conditions present from Pierre to Rapid City, with many basins 80 to 100% full. This is a big difference from last year when this area was really dry. The recent rains helped considerably. We are seeing good numbers of gadwall, blue-winged teal, mallard, and northern shoveler, with a scattering of pintail as well. Production should be much better than last year in western South Dakota. So far, so good!
Watch a video of an N705 taking off to begin the survey.
Another example of habitat in Southwestern South Dakota.
Eye calibration for estimating distance and outer boundary for including counts of wetlands and waterfowl.
Get more information about the 2014 BPOP Survey and other waterfowl surveys at Flyways.us
Find more breeding waterfowl and habitat survey updates on the DU Habitat Map