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Site-Specific Wildlife Assessments

Wildlife Survey Planning Tools

Collecting detailed maps of the site and surrounding areas is a key first-step in project planning.  Aerial photos or satellite maps can provide a birds-eye view of the project and the surrounding area.  These resources can help to determine the effort that will be required to adequately asses a site for potential wildlife occupancy.   

Wildlife Assessment Guidelines and Recommendations

Wildlife surveys should be conducted by professionals with documented experience of assessing habitat requirements and observing the type of wildlife in question.  Biologists responsible for the assessment should reference field guides and other resources when identifying species, and regularly view track casts and scat specimens to enhance survey skills.  Most survey results are valid for one breeding season and should be repeated in the active season immediately prior to and during land use activities that alter or remove wildlife habitat.  Surveys are not always recommended for range-limited, or hard to observe species and if surveys are conducted, a federal and state survey permit (for contact with the species) may be required. 


  • Multiple Species Inventory Guide (United States Department of Agriculture-Forest Service) - provides examples or general wildlife survey methodology if protocols have not been established.

Wildlife Assessment Reporting

Certain programs and permits have specific requirements or forms to fill out, but similar components should be incorporated into wildlife assessments which are outlined in resources below.  Essential elements to include in a wildlife assessment report are; desktop data/resources used, location of onsite habitats, date and locations of survey transects or other sampling measures, and sampling intensity.


  • Wildlife Species Report Outline (FWC) – reference which provides a guide of the basic components of a wildlife or listed species report.
  • Field Reporting Forms (FNAI) – webpage which contains instructions and recommendations for submitting wildlife occurrence information to FNAI.
  • Wildlife Observation Form (Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies) – example form for recording wildlife observations in the field.