Transect Protocol

The following is a basic protocol that all surveyors should follow. Adding additional information does not affect the protocol. Please note where deviations from the protocol occur, either systematically, or for a particular survey event.

  1. Safety: Please make sure you don’t become roadkill. Surveyors should not stop on interstates or on busy roads and highways where stopping and/or exiting the car is dangerous. We do encourage you to stop and observe roadkills up close when it is safe to do so. We encourage you to wear a safety reflective vest if you plan on exiting your vehicle. We also encourage you to stop periodically in a safe place to record your observations, or use a voice recorder (many cell phones have this feature), to avoid writing while driving. For the several cyclists among you, please wear a helmet and reflective vest and stop safely.
  2. Speed: Please drive/ride as slowly as safely and legally possible and record your average speed. This will improve your noticing and identification of animals. Please note when surveys are only conducted while driving and not with frequent stopping.
  3. Identification: There are several levels of possible identification that is useful to us and in some cases, you may only be able to provide more general identificaiton. The first is the general classification of “large mammal” or “bird”, etc. The second is a major type of each of these, for example “ungulate”, “rabbit”, “snake”, or “raptor”. The third is more precise species identification, such as “desert cottontail rabbit” or “Anna’s hummingbird”. These are available as options on the web site, or you can write it in yourself in a text box. For each level, you can also say how confident you are in your identification “100% confident”, “somewhat confident” etc.
  4. On-site: For those of you who stop safely and examine carcasses, there are several possible activities. One is photographing the carcass. If you do this, which we appreciate, please take a picture that includes the context of the roadkill (roads, median barrier, and fences, etc.) and a picture that is close-up, helping with identification. Placing an item for scale (quarter, ruler, water bottle) is also useful. Once the picture is taken, some people remove the carcass from the roadway or shoulder and throw it into surrounding vegetation to reduce double-counting and to reduce the chance that another animal will attempt to eat the roadkill, and become roadkill itself. This may not be legal and should not be done without gloves. Another activity that we are in the process of getting a programmatic permit for is collection of hair samples (for the furry creatures) to allow people to send us the samples of genetic analysis. Since we currently don’t have the permit, collecting hair or other samples may not be legal, especially from threatened or endangered animals, or migratory birds.
  5. Data management: We appreciate your extra effort. On the web site, you will first "Add a Sampling Event" which will create a record which represents the time you spent monitoring your transect. Then, as you enter observations like you normally would, you will see a "Transect Management" link where you can select the sampling event to associate the observation to. Repeat this step for each observation.
  6. Frequency: We would like monthly surveying at a minimum and appreciate those of you who will do weekly or daily surveying. Please confirm your actual frequency when you conduct the surveys.

Questions? Please contact us and select "transects".