• Application of Remote Sensing to Prairie Dog Management

      Dalsted, K. J.; Sather-Blair, S.; Worcester, B. K.; Klukas, R. (Society for Range Management, 1981-05-01)
      The areal extent of prairie dog towns in Wind Cave National Park (WCNP) has increased at an alarming rate in the past 20 years. An inventory method was needed to replace the time and labor intensive ground survey method, i.e. rod and transit. Color infrared (CIR) aerial photography (1,370 m above ground) provided a useful product for rapidly and accurately delineating prairie dog towns. Extent was determined by measurements on the CIR film to be 608 ha or 5.3% of the total WCNP area. Ground measurements, taken near the time of the aircraft overflight, included general vegetation description of each prairie dog town and a vegetation sampling from 0.25 m2 plot on a stratified, random basis. The ground data helped explain and identify the variations recorded on the CIR film. Soil and topographic information were used with the CIR film to determine likely expansion potential and probable direction of growth of the 11 major prairie dog towns in WCNP. The prairie dog town inventory and expansion potential of each town has probable usefulness in the development of management plans.