Air and Ground Crews Prepare for Southern Saskatchewan Survey

Written by Phil Thorpe
Thursday, May 05, 2011

Photo of Phil Thorpe.Pat and I donned our personal protective equipment (PPE) that we are required to wear below 500' AGL and took off on a reconnaissance flight to look at habitat conditions and waterfowl presence. We flew down to the southwest part of the Province to see if conditions had improved since the CWS recon from last week. They had found 50-75% of the landscape covered in snow and some roads blocked by snow drifts. We found improved conditions, only 10-15% snow cover and the snow was only in the ditches and coulees. Plant phenology is still 1-2 weeks behind normal, but ducks were present and distributed on their breeding territories; things look promising for kicking off the survey tomorrow morning. We continued the recon up the west side of the Province and landed in Rosetown for a prearranged meeting with CWS biologists JM Devinc and Keith Warner. The four of us went out on the ground and talked about survey timing and reviewed pond classification procedures. The habitat conditions in the northern grasslands also were excellent and water was abundant. After a few hours in the field and mutual agreement to start the survey in the morning, we returned to Regina.

Extensive flooding of farmland southeast of Regina.

Extensive flooding of farmland southeast of Regina. Photo by Phil Thorpe, USFWS

This wetland has its revenge, taking back its basin.

This wetland has its revenge, taking back its basin. Photo by Phil Thorpe, USFWS