Alberta Ground Crew Finishes 2010 Survey

Written by Garnet Raven
Friday, May 28, 2010

Garnet RavenThe Alberta ground crew completed its portion of the 2010 waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey today. In the Peace country we found the recent snow and rain event added water to many seasonal and temporary wetlands, but conditions were still below average and most semi-permanent wetlands were drawn down. Fortunately, there are many permanent wetlands in the area with adequate water, and duck numbers from the ground counts appear to be about average, albeit below last year’s totals.

In general, conditions in Alberta varied widely this year. In the southern prairies spring storms made for good conditions and duck numbers were higher than we have observed for several years. As we moved north into the prairie parklands, wetland conditions deteriorated and so did our observed duck numbers. The eastern Alberta parklands remain in a drought and only the more permanent wetlands contain water. Waterfowl in this region will have a challenge finding adequate brood rearing habitat if they are able to successfully hatch a nest.

Overall, we have had another successful and enjoyable ground survey in Alberta. From the antelope and cinnamon teal we observed in southern Alberta three weeks ago, to the moose and hooded mergansers we spotted in northwestern Alberta today, it has been an entertaining adventure from start to finish. The waterfowl breeding season is such a short and special time of year. It’s hard to believe that another spring survey has come and gone. We’re already looking forward to next year’s survey.

CWS biologist Jim Leafloor surveying a (very) artificial wetland on the Laglace air-ground north of Grande Prairie. (Credit: Jason Caswell, ASRD).

CWS biologist Jim Leafloor surveying a (very) artificial wetland on the Laglace air-ground north of Grande Prairie. Credit: Jason Caswell, ASRD.

A semi-permanent wetland holding water on the Twin Lakes air-ground southwest of Grande Prairie, AB.  Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A semi-permanent wetland holding water on the Twin Lakes air-ground southwest of Grande Prairie, AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A small permanent wetland in the forest transition zone on the Twin Lakes air-ground southwest of Grande Prairie, AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A small permanent wetland in the forest transition zone on the Twin Lakes air-ground southwest of Grande Prairie, AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A pair of hooded mergansers observed on the Reno air-ground south of Peace River, AB on May 28th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A pair of hooded mergansers observed on the Reno air-ground south of Peace River, AB on May 28th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A young cow moose observed on the Reno air-ground south of Peace River, AB on May 28th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A young cow moose observed on the Reno air-ground south of Peace River, AB on May 28th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

Two typical artificial wetlands surveyed on the Reno air-ground south of Peace River, AB.  Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Two typical artificial wetlands surveyed on the Reno air-ground south of Peace River, AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A view of the Smoky River valley south of Peace River, AB following the completion of the 2010 Alberta ground survey. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A view of the Smoky River valley south of Peace River, AB following the completion of the 2010 Alberta ground survey. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.