The population explosion of snow geese over the past few decades has had a negative impact on the fragile arctic breeding grounds used by the geese and many other migratory bird species. To assess the habitat degradation in these areas, the FWS acquired over 10,000 frames of high-resolution, digital, true color photographs over the snow geese breeding colonies of Hudson Bay and South Hampton Island during June 2014. A wildlife biologist and remote sensing specialist converted the raw imagery to a tiff image format for analysis.
Ecosystems - Birds
The FWS uses avian radar to monitor bird and bat migration along the shorelines of the Great Lakes (http://www.fws.gov/radar/). Since 2011, mobile avian radar units have been stationed around each of the Great Lakes during the spring and fall migration seasons to track birds and bats as they fly. By using avian radar to study migration, data can be gathered over a much larger area without causing stress to the animals being studied.
Shortages of data on survival rates, mortality factors, habitat selection, and dispersal and migration movements hinder decisions for managing golden eagle populations in the western United States. To help fill these information gaps, 83 golden eagle nestlings in the Southern Rockies/Colorado Plateau region were fitted with satellite transmitters during 2010–2014. Nearly 500,000 hourly GPS locations of the eagles, accurate to within 20 m, have been collected via the Argos satellite system.
Pilot-biologists in the Branch of Migratory Bird Surveys (Division of Migratory Bird Management) collect georeferenced locations of aerial flight hazards during annual migratory bird surveys across the United States and Canada. Hazards include powerlines, meteorological towers, wind turbines, and other obstacles near transect lines flown by aircraft during low-level surveys. These locations are entered into a hazards geodatabase managed within the Migratory Bird Program that is used by pilots preparing flight plans. Pilot-recorded hazards are integrated with existing Federal Aviation Adm
Migratory Birds, Intermountain West Joint Venture, Region 6
Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
National Wildlife Refuge System
Ecosystems - Other
Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
The Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is collaborating with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office to identify and map critical salmon spawning areas on the Chandalar River, home to the largest run of chum salmon in Alaska. Using both thermal and high-resolution imagery collected from fixed-wing aircraft in September 2014, thermal distribution of waters will be mapped and protocols developed for creating a spatially explict fall-spawning chum salmon habitat model for Alaskan rivers.
The Iowa Pleistocene snail is a remnant species of the last Ice Age that was believed to be extinct but was discovered in 1955 and placed on the Endangered Species List in 1977.
Land Use and Land Cover Change
Refuge Planning, National Wildlife Refuge System