Conservation at its best is when agencies, scientists, industry, and the public work together to manage a species. I think sage-grouse is a good example of an effort that spans several states with Wyoming leading the way. In the Powder River Basin environmental consulting firms, Wyoming Game and Fish, BLM, energy and extraction companies, and landowners are working together on an issue that can be very difficult. How do we manage a population and still develop? And there is no easy answer. But the only way this can be accomplished is if we work together. In the Powder River there is a lot of development and these groups have worked hard together to do lek surveys; both in the air and on the ground. In other words, they coordinate who is going where every year so that leks are not getting counted by multiple different people/groups (not an easy task!) Aerial surveys are used to see if a lek is active, find new leks, and just to survey hard to get to areas or areas with no ground access.
On the flight I tagged along with this morning we didn't see any birds but it was still really cool to see how we survey for sage-grouse from a plane!