2014 Survey Begins!

Written by Rob Spangler
Sunday, May 04, 2014

Rob SpanglerThis morning we kicked off the 2014 Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. We took off out of Pierre, South Dakota and flew almost directly west for our first transect line. We were encouraged to see the good habitat conditions present from Pierre to Rapid City, with many basins 80 to 100% full. This is a big difference from last year when this area was really dry. The recent rains helped considerably. We are seeing good numbers of gadwall, blue-winged teal, mallard, and northern shoveler, with a scattering of pintail as well. Production should be much better than last year in western South Dakota. So far, so good!

N705 taking off to begin the survey.
Video by Brenda Kelly/USFWS.

Another example of habitat in Southwestern South Dakota.

Another example of habitat in Southwestern South Dakota. Photo by Brenda Kelly, USFWS

Basins in good shape this year.

Basins in good shape this year. Photo by Brenda Kelly, USFWS

Basins are looking a lot better compared with last year when they were filled 50% or less.

Basins are looking a lot better compared with last year when they were filled 50% or less. Photo by Brenda Kelly, USFWS

Eye calibration for estimating distance and outer boundary for including counts of wetlands and waterfowl.

Eye calibration for estimating distance and outer boundary for including counts of wetlands and waterfowl. Photo by Brenda Kelly, USFWS