Terrestrial Services

MTM has experience in completing full-spectrum habitat assessments and species-specific surveys for numerous species, including state and federally endangered and threatened species. Our staff has documented a number of sensitive species via targeted surveys as well as incidental detections. Terrestrial services we provide include:

  • Wildlife Surveys
    • Threatened and Endangered Species Surveys
    • Presence/Absence Surveys
    • Avian Surveys
      • Auditory/Visual Point Counts
      • Nest Monitoring and Surveys
      • Raptor Nest Surveys
    • Bioacoustic Surveys for Birds, Terrestrial Wildlife, and Bats
    • eDNA Sampling for Terrestrial Species
    • Invertebrate Surveys
    • Herpetological (Reptile and Amphibian) Surveys
    • Pollinator Surveys
    • Population Estimates/Counts
  • Botanical Surveys/Inventories
    • Random Meander and Target Search Surveys
    • Desktop Review to Identify Potential Habitat for Rare Species
  • Habitat Assessments/Surveys for State, Federal, and Rare Plant/Animal Species
  • Biological Assessments
  • Specimen Collection and Identification
  • Impact Assessments
  • Post-impact Monitoring

What are Wildlife Surveys?
Wildlife Surveys include a more intensive look at the wildlife species that occur on a property or within a body of water. This is conducted using traditional methods, such as avian point counts, as well as advanced technology that can capture the presence of species visually, through audio, or through environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling.

What is eDNA Sampling?
Environmental DNA (“eDNA”) is genetic material shed by organisms in various ways including skin, feces, blood, spermatozoa, and eggs. These DNA fragments attach to non-living components in air, water, or sediments in the habitat of the target species/taxonomic group, which can then be sampled and analyzed via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to detect whether the target species (or a variety of animal groups) is present or absent.

How is this beneficial?
Wildlife Surveys better document the existing species located on the property, including high priority, threatened, or endangered species, supporting the conservation purpose of the property. For example, if elusive species are caught on camera or audio recorder, this information may be used to further document and defend the existing conservation values of a conservation easement property. These reports can also serve as a tool for landowners to learn more about their property.

What is included in a Wildlife Survey?
Each project would be catered to the project, the property, and the landowner’s goals. When determining what methods should be utilized, a number of factors are involved including the project goals, timeline, and budget.

The report would include a significant amount of fieldwork using some or all of the following techniques.

  • Wildlife Camera Monitoring
  • Ultrasonic Bat Recorders
  • Acoustic Wildlife Recorders for Birds and other Terrestrial species
  • Avian Point Counts
  • Stream Surveys
  • Drift Fence Surveys for amphibians, reptiles, and/or small mammals
  • Small Mammal/Herpetofauna Trapping
  • Data Analysis

Sampling varies by project but an average property may require 1-4 samplings per year (Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter), depending upon the project goals. However, additional options are reviewed and considered in order to meet the objectives of the project.

Depending upon the project timeline, we are also able to launch recorders and/or conduct additional site visits during key times, such as during peak migration, to fully capture what species are utilizing a property or habitat. For example, if an endangered species utilizes the property during the spring, sampling would occur during that time. When targeting a specific species or taxonomic groups using eDNA sampling, the precise sampling time, such as during peak breeding/spawning, would be identified before the project commences.

Once the fieldwork is complete, it takes a few weeks to months to process all of the data. We utilize advanced software that helps sort and group the recordings, but a significant amount of time is still required for identification of all of the calls, as there are an abundance of calls per recording. On an average property, a single recorder may have approximately 10 thousand calls from 5 days of sampling. For eDNA sampling, where applicable, the DNA samples are processed by independent laboratories so processing times may vary depending on any existing backlog.

The report will contain information including:

  • Background of project
  • Habitats
  • Sampling methods and techniques
  • Observation tables and charts
  • Threatened and endangered species
  • Maps
  • Photos and audio files
  • Tables from government entities
  • Impacts to Conservation Values on protected lands, if applicable

The client will receive a digital copy of the report and a USB drive that contains:

  • Digital version of the report
  • A selection of the game camera photos, noting the species identified
  • A selection of digital audio files including relevant data generated by software used in conjunction with the audio equipment
  • Copy of lab results from eDNA sampling, if applicable