Sensitive species inventory guidelines

These guidelines provide clear inventory protocols for a number of at-risk wildlife species in Alberta.


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Wildlife Management's Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines

The Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines represents a significant amount of work by a number of AEP-Wildlife Management staff, with assistance from species experts in both the private and public sectors.

The Sensitive Species Committee's goal for this update was to provide clear, concise inventory guidelines for a number of wildlife species in Alberta, with a focus on pre-development wildlife surveys. The main changes in the document include:

  • Addition of a number of northern species including:
    • Boreal raptors
    • Boreal songbirds
    • Common nighthawk
    • Mammal winter tracking/mineral lick surveys
    • Western grebes
    • Yellow rail
  • Updates to all previously existing inventory guidelines based on the most up to date research
  • Development of best management practices
  • Addition of a Survey Standards section for each protocol, which clearly outline
    • effort
    • observer qualifications
    • permit required
    • survey conditions
    • survey timing

These changes are expected to clarify EPA Wildlife Management's expectations of developers and support processes such as the EAP.

Focus of the Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines

Wildlife managers are faced with a growing need for improved and consistent data on many wildlife species. There are several reasons for this:

  • Human land-use activities are increasing across Alberta.
  • Assessments of species' status require up-to-date information.
  • Collecting more reliable data can help identify better and more effective ways to deal with the impacts of development on wildlife.
  • Specialists demand rigorous and standardized protocols for wildlife surveys.

The primary focus of the Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines is on the following:

  • Species that are or may be at risk of extirpation
  • Species that may require protection to prevent them from becoming at risk
  • Other species of management concern found in native boreal, grassland and parkland areas

Inventory Protocols

The guidelines include inventory protocols for a number of species at risk and several other species of management concern (for example: salamanders, bats) from across the province.

Biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Division can provide additional information and guidance to investigators before surveys are conducted.




Bat survey information can be found on the Open Government Portal at:

Documents provided on the Portal record are as follows:



These guidelines will be expanded over the long term:

  • To cover a broader array of species of management concern
  • To cover landscapes found throughout the province

The protocols have been prepared and reviewed by species' experts in the province. These guidelines were developed for several audiences, including government staff, industry, consultants and other researchers.

The use of proven inventory methods will accomplish the following:

  • Allow for provincewide consistency in data collection
  • Facilitate comparison between surveys
  • Minimize biases related to sampling techniques
  • Ensures project planning meets required government standards

Consistent use of standardized survey methods over time should provide data that more accurately reflect ecological patterns and landscape-level changes in distribution and population trends across the province.

Landscape Analysis Tool

When the Landscape Analysis Tool report identifies a condition that requires a Sensitive Species Survey, the Sensitive Species Survey Form must be completed as a part of the pre-application requirements. Note that the results of an acceptable wildlife survey are valid for up to two years from the date of the survey.


Following the completion of an inventory survey, we encourage all researchers and investigators to submit wildlife and fish data for entry into the provincial Fisheries and Wildlife Management Information System (FWMIS).

Provincial biologists will use submitted data to enhance the management of sensitive species.

For more information on FWMIS, see:

Or contact your nearest Fish and Wildlife office: