Wildlife Surveys

Survey protocols or guidelines have been established by USFWS and/or FWC for many species of wildlife. If protocols have not been established, this guide provides examples or general methodology: USDA Forest Service Multiple Species Inventory Guide. All survey methods should be cited in a final report and any modifications explained. Most survey results are valid for one season and should be repeated in the active season immediately  prior to and during land use activities that alter or remove wildlife habitat. Surveys and land use planning activities should consider the diversity of wildlife species and the habitat requirements of target species for management purposes. Monitoring and adaptive management should be included in all permit conditions to ensure and detail successful habitat management, conservation efforts, and avoidance of impacts. Most survey methods require the possession of a wildlife permit (examples and applications below).

Surveys should be completed only by qualified biologists with documented observation and identification of each species to be surveyed.  Surveys should be recorded on a map (1”=400’) with pedestrian transects, observation point, trap grids, herpetofaunal arrays, and other sampling plot locations. Protection measures, conservation efforts, mitigation for offsetting impacts and other survey result information should be included in a final report following suggested reporting guidelines. A preliminary general assessment should be conducted whereby at least 15% of the area covered by each habitat type should be surveyed for each potentially occurring species. Depending on the species potential occurrence, a species-specific survey should be conducted by qualified wildlife biologists or ecologists with documented experience of known occurrences and habitat requirements (suggested criteria provided below).

Individual Qualifications*

Survey and Collection Permits

 Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Application (USFWS)

State Scientific Collection Permit information (FWC)


*Disclaimer: Although, the term qualified biologist occurs in some rule language, there is no established set of criteria associated with its use. However, we have identified a set of qualifications that FWC recommends for individuals doing this work. Under certain circumstances, there are specific requirements when working with particular species.