Eastern Dakotas

Eastern Dakotas Aerial Crew Crosses the Finish Line

Eastern Dakotas
Written by John Solberg
Friday, May 28, 2010

John SolbergOn Friday, May 28, Pete and I crossed the “finish line” for the 2010 survey effort. We spent our final week in Minot, ND, where strong low pressure systems in Montana and a persistent front lying along the US/Canada border allowed only 2 flight days during that period.

Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew Update 4: New Water and Old Houses

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pam Garrettson
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pam Garrettson.The weather that kept us from working for several days brought new water to the last two air-ground surveys we have done. But because most ducks have settled onto their breeding territories, many of these new wetlands were vacant. The high winds (gusts to 60 mph) that followed the rain dried out the roads pretty well, which made our travels easier.

Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew Update 3, and Some Notes on Duck Sex

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pam Garrettson
Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pam Garrettson.We have had a week of dry, sunny weather, and are heading into the home stretch of the survey. We have four more air-ground segments left to do. Overall, the story for this year in the Eastern Dakotas has been lots of water and lots of ducks. However, we continue to notice the loss of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands, which are very important grassland habitat for upland-nesting ducks. Thus, we were pleased to reach a couple of our Coteau segments, which are hilly, primarily used for grazing, and have an abundance of semi-permanent and permanent wetlands. These also make suitable habitat for diving ducks that build nests of aquatic vegetation over the water.

Good conditions continue in southeastern North Dakota

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pete Fasbender and John Solberg
Saturday, May 22, 2010

John Solberg & Pete FasbenderOn Thursday, May 22, we completed the southern stratum (46) east of the Missouri River in North Dakota. Although conditions were not as wet as northern South Dakota, the majority of wetland habitats in North Dakota’s Missouri Coteau and glacial drift plain generally look good. Where the water in northern South Dakota is evenly distributed and probably in greater supply, water conditions in North Dakota are more variable with some areas drier than others. Farming activities are further behind in North Dakota and we did witness the ongoing installation of drain tile in the eastern part of the state. Nonetheless, conditions overall are good in the southern part of the state and we continued to tally strong numbers of breeding waterfowl in Stratum 46.

Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew Update 2

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pam Garrettson
Monday, May 17, 2010

Pam Garrettson.

Today we completed our 7th air-ground segment. Water conditions look good as we move into northeastern South Dakota. We had a few weather days, but now the forecast looks good for the air crew to fly for the next several days. I should have introduced you to our crew. Kammie Kruse is the Central Flyway Representative’s assistant based out of Denver. This is her 9th year on the survey. Dan Collins, the Pacific Flyway Representative’s assistant (based in Portland, Oregon) is back for his second year on the crew. This is my 11th year on either the eastern or western Dakotas ground crew, and because I did all my graduate work on prairie-nesting ducks, this year marks my 18th spring on the prairies. Our newest crew member is Josh White, a master’s student from South Dakota State University, who has a temporary job with the USFWS. Josh is also an avid photographer who has taken most of the pictures we have posted along with our entries. Anyone interested in his photography is welcome to email him at jwhitewildlife@gmail.com.

South Dakota Survey Completed East of the Missouri River

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pete Fasbender & John Solberg
Monday, May 17, 2010

John Solberg & Pete FasbenderWeather conditions this past week hampered survey efforts by offering large doses of wind, rain, snow, fog, and low ceilings. On the down side, breeding waterfowl continued their efforts and forced us further behind in our survey activities. Groups of males, especially mallards and pintails, are getting larger by the day. On the bright side, most prairie “critters” with an interest in wetlands will take precipitation almost any time we can get it. Besides the obvious benefit to wetlands, the additional moisture has greatly hindered agricultural activities, and probably gave stubble nesting waterfowl a few extra days to successfully hatch their nests.

Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew Update

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pam Garrettson
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pam Garrettson.

We have now completed 4 of the air-ground segments that are used to calculate correction factors for the ducks (individual species) and ponds seen by the air crew. We have seen just about every species expected for this crew area. Blue-winged teal lead the pack as usual, followed by mallards this year thus far. On yesterday’s segment near Oldham, SD, we counted quite a few redheads, but we don’t expect to get into too many divers until our segments on the Missouri Coteau, a region of rolling hills, pocked with deep semi-permanent wetlands.

Eastern Dakotas survey crew "gearing up" for 2010 effort

Eastern Dakotas
Written by John Solberg
Friday, May 07, 2010

John SolbergBoth the air and ground crews are staged and in the "starting blocks" for the 2010 Waterfowl Breeding Ground and Habitat Survey (BPOP Survey). Following a busy time of logistical, gear, computer, and aircraft preparations, the air and ground crews arrived in Mitchell, SD on 5 May. The following day was devoted to equipment testing, survey procedure review, and air and ground reconnaissance. The 2010 aerial crew consists of Pete Fasbender and me. We both are "prairie guys" and are biologists for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This will mark Pete’s fourth year participating in the BPOP survey (western Dakotas, Montana, and southern provinces in Canada) and my 25th year (eastern and western Dakotas, and Montana). Our ground crew is also highly experienced, and they will keep you posted on their activities in separate reports.

Ground Crew Prepares for Eastern Dakotas Survey

Eastern Dakotas
Written by Pam Garrettson
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pam Garrettson.We are packing up and preparing for the waterfowl breeding population survey in the Eastern Dakotas crew area. The plan is to begin May 7th. The area promises to be extremely wet again this year, and with a good portion of Southern Saskatchewan and Southern Alberta experiencing dry conditions, we expect that this crew area will attract lots of ducks for the second year in a row. According to John Solberg, the flyway biologist for the crew area, the weather there has been quite changeable, with temperatures in the 70s one week and snow the next.

Survey of Eastern Dakotas completed – better than 2008

Eastern Dakotas
Written by John Solberg and Thom Lewis
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photo of John Solberg.Our previous (May 9) report addressed survey activities and habitat conditions in the area south of Huron, SD.  As we progressed northward, the benefits of precipitation received during the winter of ’08-’09 were obvious. From Aberdeen, SD north to the Canada border, water levels and numbers of basins were generally considered good to excellent and significantly improved since 2008. Nesting cover though, is variable. Dry conditions last year allowed many of the smaller, shallower basins to be “tilled through.” This practice destroys plant communities associated with wetlands and leaves little or no residual nesting cover the following year. Add to those conditions over 800,000 acres of CRP lost in the Dakotas since 2007 and an additional 400,000+ contract acres scheduled to expire in 2009, and you have degraded and further fragmented nesting cover over significant portions of the landscape. Fortunately, the increase in the number of basins with water, particularly north of Aberdeen, should provide suitable nesting sites within reasonable distances to wetlands, though nesting success and brood survival may be reduced.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Eastern Dakotas