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. The imagery will be analyzed by a contractor (Environment Canada) to estimate the snow goose population and evaluate the extent of damage to the tundra ecosystem. Knowledge of the concentrations of birds in each area will be used to design conservation measures needed to stabilize population size and minimize damage to the tundra.
The Midwest Region used a medium format digital aerial camera system for image acquisition in the Arctic. The Region's aviation program also acquires high-resolution color infrared and true color imagery to support habitat and land cover mapping, law enforcement reconnaissance, invasive plant species inventory, and flood mapping, and to produce avian breeding and migration inventories in the region.
The Region 3 pilot captured an image of another aircraft conducting an aerial survey of snow geese in the remote wilderness of the Canadian tundra.