Alberta Ground Crew Off and Running

Written by Garnet Raven
Thursday, May 07, 2015

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered on Thursday, May 7th in Medicine Hat, Alberta. It looked like a winter wonderland in the Edmonton area this morning. Edmonton received up to a foot of snow on May 6th. As we headed south from Edmonton we found that the snow quickly disappeared south of the city. During the drive down from Edmonton we witnessed some good wetland conditions through the parklands. Conditions appeared to get increasingly dry as we drove further south, into the prairies. Alberta received less snowpack over the winter than in recent years and it appears that it has prevented many of the wetlands from recharging, especially in the south. Our pilot, Jim Bredy, was able to survey the two southernmost transects today, so our ground crew will be busy surveying the Pakowki and Manyberries air-ground transects tomorrow.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the Alberta air crew of Jim Bredy and his observer, Joe Sands. Our primary objective is to get a complete count of all waterfowl and wetlands present on the air-ground comparison segments. These counts will provide correction factors for visibility biases of the aerial counts. Visibility biases are known to exist for all aerial observers. These biases change between years as a result of varying conditions. We have 24 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta this year. We begin in the southern portion of the province and work our way north, all the way up to the Edmonton area in central Alberta.

A winter wonderland near Edmonton on May 6th.

A winter wonderland near Edmonton on May 6th. Credit: Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service