Alberta Ground Crew Eager to Begin

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Written by Garnet Raven
Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Photo of Garnet Raven.The ground crew for the Alberta portion of the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey is currently in a holding pattern. We’re basically packed up with no place to go. A spring storm has moved into Montana, the Dakotas and southern Alberta, preventing our flyway biologist Jim Bredy from flying to Alberta. On one hand we’re very pleased to be receiving the much-needed moisture, but on the other hand we’re anxious to get the survey started. In early- to mid-April it looked like much of Alberta would have one of the dryer springs on record. However, since then we’ve had several storms and the outlook is improving quickly. At this point it appears like wetland conditions are still slightly below average, but things are looking much better than they did 3 weeks ago.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the Alberta air crew of Jim Bredy and Dave Fronczak. 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 48 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta. We begin in the southern portion of the province and work our way north, all the way up to the Peace country in northwestern Alberta. I plan on meeting with the air crew later this week and then continuing on to Medicine Hat where I’ll meet with my ground crew before beginning the survey.