Wrapping Up the Survey!!

Written by Jim Wortham
Friday, June 10, 2011

Jim Wortham.We have finished our survey! We completed Stratum 69 on Thursday, June 9, with the Northwest Territories crew not far behind. Data now has to be compiled and transferred to our Population and Habitat Assessment biometricians in Laurel, Maryland, and Sacramento, California, to be combined with data captured by our Canadian Wildlife Service colleagues. Following this, waterfowl population estimates will be developed for use in not only the establishment of hunting seasons and bag limits, but also to be incorporated into computer models designed to provide guidance in management decisions for habitat policy development.

Our surveys went relatively smooth this year, partially compensating for our late start. The phenology of habitats in northern Quebec were very good and only a little ice remained on the larger lakes with almost all marshes wet and available for nesting waterfowl.

Because both the helicopter and fixed wing crews were made up of very experienced personnel, many of which are responsible for the future use of these data, much evening discussion centered around improving the survey and the calculation of our Visibility Correction Factors (VCFs)—for both eastern Canada and the western boreal forest survey areas. As you can imagine, these areas encompass vast landscapes where we do not enjoy the luxury of ground crews being able to “truth” the waterfowl numbers observed from the fixed-wing planes. Look for future helicopter and multiple-observer work in the boreal areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the NWT.

Special thanks again to my observer, Dr. Scott Boomer, Population Biologist, USFWS, Maryland.

Parallel parking in North Quebec (but no parking meters!).

Parallel parking in North Quebec (but no parking meters!). Photo by Jim Wortham, USFWS

Lunch break.

Lunch break. Photo by Jim Wortham, USFWS