The Big Dry Arm Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve March Morning on the Platte River After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset

Surveyor Information


Threatened and Endangered Species Survey Protocols

The following survey protocols were developed to standardize survey efforts for federally listed species. Survey protocols must be followed during all surveys to guarantee acceptance by our office.

Utah listed plants

Ute ladies’-tresses

Southwestern willow flycatcher

Western yellow-billed cuckoo

Mexican spotted owl

Utah prairie dog

Mojave desert tortoise

If you seek approval to attach/remove/insert any devices or equipment to/into desert tortoises, withdraw blood, or conduct other procedures on desert tortoises, a recovery permit or similar authorization may be required. Application for a recovery permit requires completion of Form 3- 200-55, which can be downloaded at http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-55.pdf.


Threatened and Endangered Species Training Opportunities

In coordination with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, we will be offering four threatened and endangered species survey trainings this year. These trainings are free to attend and are mandatory for those who plan to conduct surveys in Utah for Mexican spotted owls, Utah prairie dogs, southwestern willow flycatchers, western yellow-billed cuckoo, or listed plant species. We may receive more requests to enroll in the training courses than can be accommodated in the classroom and in the field. If this is the case, we will consider a number of factors in approving applicants to attend, including: 1) if you have previously completed similar training; 2) if you are enrolled in a survey course in another State; and 3) your survey plans for the species in Utah.

Many of the below trainings are free. However, you are responsible for arranging and paying for your own transportation, lodging, and meal expenses. Please share this information with others who may be interested.


Endangered Species Act Section 7 Training

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Training on November 14-15, 2018. This is a one-day course. Depending on interest, the course will be held only on November 14th or both November 14th and 15th with the same course each day.

This training emphasizes ESA Section 7 consultation process and the components of a biological assessment and biological opinion. Coffee and light refreshments will be available and donations will be accepted for these items. Please bring paper and pen. We will take a break for lunch and there are many restaurants within a couple miles.

  • When: November 14-15, 2018 (or just November 14th) from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm MST
  • Where: The training will be held at the BLM Salt Lake Field Office at 2370 Decker Lake Blvd. West Valley City, Utah 84119
  • Registration Deadline: Close of business on Friday, October 26, 2018. By Friday November 2, 2018, we will inform you as to whether or not you are approved to attend. If you cannot attend on November 14, 2018 please note that information when you register.
  • Contact for registration and additional information: RitaMay Reyna via e-mail at RitaMay_Reyna@fws.gov or by telephone at 801-975-3330 ext. 122. If you RSVP by email, please put "ESA Section 7 Consultation" in the subject line. Please also include the following information: Email address for each Student, Organization or Company, Name, Phone Number, and Complete Address with City and State.

Uinta Basin Rare and Listed Plant Webinar

Viewing the 2018 training webinar (recording) is required for plant survey certification for 2020. The 2018 webinar recording is available on our website at: https://www.fws.gov/utahfieldoffice/UBRarePlants.php.

The 2018 training emphasizes policy, survey, and reporting requirements, as well as identification of rare plants and their habitats in the Uinta Basin. Viewing of the 2018 webinar recording is required to meet USFWS qualifications to conduct threatened and endangered plant surveys in the Uinta Basin. Attendees must self-certify viewing of the training by emailing a confirmation to Rita Reisor at rita_reisor@fws.gov.

To self-certify please send an email with “Uinta Basin Rare Plant Webinar” as the subject line and include the following information in the email body:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Address, City, State
  • Phone Number
  • Agency or Company Name
  • Date viewed

Reminder: The rare plant survey training is valid for three field seasons. If you took the training in 2019, you should retake this training in 2022. This year’s attendees should retake this training in March 2023.

Please direct questions about the training access or content to Rita Reisor at rita_reisor@fws.gov or (385) 285-7923.


Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Survey Training

This training emphasizes identification of southwestern willow flycatcher habitats, species identification by sight and sound, and use of the 2010 survey protocol. If you have completed a previous training session for southwestern willow flycatcher surveys, it must have included a field portion, otherwise this survey training is mandatory for permit applicants who plan to conduct southwestern willow flycatcher surveys in Utah. Please bring binoculars, field clothes, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and, if you wish, food and beverages for yourself for the morning field session.

  • When: May 17-18, 2018. The classroom session will begin at 1:00pm on Thursday, May 17th and end at approximately 4:30pm. The field session will begin at 6:30am on Friday, May 18, 2018 and end at approximately 11:00am.
  • Registration Deadline: Close of business May 4, 2018. By Friday May 11, 2018 we will inform you as to whether or not you are approved to attend.
  • Where: The training will be held in St. George, Utah. The classroom session will be held at the UDWR Washington County Field Office  (451 N SR-318, Hurricane, Utah 84737).  The exact location of the field session will be determined at the end of the classroom session.
  • Contact for registration and additional information: RitaMay Reyna via e-mail
    at RitaMay_Reyna@fws.gov or by telephone at 801-975-3330 ext. 122. If you RSVP by email, please put "Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Survey Training" in the subject line.

Completion of the survey training course is a requirement for obtaining an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) endangered species permit, which is necessary to conduct southwestern willow flycatcher surveys. If you intend to conduct surveys this year in Utah and do not hold a permit, please complete a permit application form as soon as possible (available online at http://www.fws.gov/permits).

Please submit all survey forms in excel format electronically to stephanie_graham@fws.gov in addition to required submission locations based on your permit.


Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo Survey Training

Western yellow-billed cuckoo survey training will be held in Hotchkiss, CO (June 18-19, 2020).  For more information please visit http://www.westernbiology.com/ybcuworkshop

  • When: June 18-19, 2020.  The workshop will span two half-days. Day One (Thursday, June 18) will consist of a class session from 12:00 - 6:00 pm. Day Two (Friday, June 19) will consist of a field session from 6:00 am - Noon.
  • Where: Hotchkiss, Colorado
  • Contact for registration and additional information: Please go to this website for registration http://www.westernbiology.com/ybcuworkshop

Completion of the survey training course is a requirement for obtaining an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) endangered species permit, which is necessary to conduct Western yellow-billed cuckoo surveys. If you intend to conduct surveys this year in Utah and do not hold a permit, please complete a permit application form as soon as possible (available on-line at http://www.fws.gov/permits/).


Mexican Spotted Owl Survey Training

Class will be held on March 16-17, 2020.  Classroom portions will be held at the BLM office in Moab, Utah.  Training will include a nighttime calling session north of Moab after class on March 16th. There will be time to get dinner before we leave for the evening session. Training will continue at 9am on March 17th, and will conclude with a second field session in the afternoon. Please bring a headlamp, field clothes, binoculars, sun screen, and, if you wish, food and beverages for yourself for the evening and afternoon field sessions.

  • When: March 16, 2020 (1 - 4:30 pm and 5:30 – 10:00 pm) and March 17, 2020 (9 – 10:30 am and 11:30 am – 3:00 pm)
  • Where: BLM Field Office, 82 East Dogwood, Suite M, Moab, Utah
  • Registration Deadline: March 5, 2020
  • Contact for registration and additional information: RitaMay Reyna via e-mail at RitaMay_Reyna@fws.gov or by telephone at 385-285-7906.
  • If you RSVP by email, please put "Mexican Spotted Owl Survey Training" in the subject line.  Please also include the following information: email address for each student, organization or company name, phone number, and complete address with city and state.

Completion of the survey training course is a requirement for obtaining an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) endangered species permit, which is necessary to conduct Mexican spotted owl surveys. If you intend to conduct surveys this year in Utah and do not hold a permit, please complete a permit application form as soon as possible (available on-line at http://www.fws.gov/permits/).


Utah Prairie Dog Survey Training

**DUE TO COVID-19, WE WILL NOT BE HOLDING THE UTAH PRAIRIE DOG SURVEYOR TRAINING IN 2020. **

We apologize that we are not able to train any new surveyors this summer (June 2020). However, if you have previously been trained (2016 course) and your certification card is expiring this season (2020), we can extend your expiration date to 2021. This extension will be approved on a case by case basis and you must have performed positive surveys for Utah prairie dogs within the last 2 years (2018-2020). Please email USFWS directly for this extension of your certification cards at the contact information listed below.

Thank you for your understanding and patience and we look forward to holding the training again in 2021. The following information is the previous training materials with a few needed updates, however the survey protocol (revised in 2018) is the current protocol to follow for this field season (2020). We have left this information on our website in case it is helpful in planning for the training in 2021.


**PLEASE NOTE: If you attended the survey training for Utah prairie dogs in 2016, there is no need for training in 2019 and your certification cards are still valid. However, please be aware that if you are not attending training this year, you are still responsible to confirm you are using the most recent information, survey protocol, and data sheets prior to performing any Utah prairie dog surveys. The Utah Prairie Dog Occupancy and Habitat Survey Protocol was updated in June 2018.

All trainees who attended in 2015 or any time prior to 2015 will no longer have a valid certification card and must attend the training to be able to conduct surveys for this field season.

Training Summary:

This training emphasizes identification of Utah prairie dogs and their habitat and use of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Utah prairie dog survey protocol (please refer to our website for any updates to the protocol). Please keep in mind that any individual conducting Utah prairie dog surveys must attend our Utah Prairie Dog Survey Training and obtain a certification card. If an organization/agency employs multiple surveyors to conduct Utah prairie dog surveys, each of those surveyors must attend the training and become certified.

Surveys conducted by individuals who have not successfully completed the training or surveys following any out-dated protocol will be invalid. New trainees must attend the classroom session plus the field session. If you are a returning student (have been certified previously) and have successfully completed Utah prairie dog surveys following the June 2018 protocol within the most recent field season (2018), you can attend the classroom portion only.

  • When and where:
    • Classroom Session – June 11, 2019 (10am to 5pm), Festival Hall (105 North 100 East, Cedar City, Utah), Room #1
    • Field Session – June 12, 2019 (7:30am start time, details provided in class)
  • Registration Deadline: Close of business on Monday, April 29, 2019. We will notify you of acceptance by Friday, May 13, 2019.
  • Contact for Registration and Additional Information: RitaMay Reyna via e-mail at RitaMay_Reyna@fws.gov or by telephone at 801-975-3330 ext. 122. If you RSVP by email, please put "Utah Prairie Dog Survey Training" in the subject line. In your email to register for this course, please include the following information: full name, email, organization, work phone, mobile phone, and full work address.

Mojave Desert Tortoise Training Opportunities

For up-to-date information on training opportunities, please visit: https://deserttortoise.org/training-programs

Mojave Desert Tortoise Introductory Course

The Desert Tortoise Council holds an annual 2-day training that emphasizes identification of Mojave desert tortoise ecology, habitats, and use of the Fish and Wildlife Service 2017 desert tortoise survey protocol. This training is highly recommended for all currently permitted and future permit applicants who plan to conduct desert tortoise surveys or monitoring activities in Utah.

Completion of the course does not result in an authorization or permit, but will help with the authorization/permitting process. Please bring a hardcopy of your signed waiver so you can participate in the field sessions. For the outdoor exercises you will need a clipboard, an indelible ink pen, and a handheld mirror or flashlight. You also should have a hat, water, sun block, suitable footwear, etc.

Mojave Desert Tortoise Advanced Course

The Desert Tortoise Council holds an annual 4.5 day advanced course that provides knowledge and experience that will help fulfill some of the qualifications of an Authorized desert tortoise biologist (as defined by the Service). This course is only open to biologists with moderate-level desert tortoise field experience. The class will cover topics such as biosecurity, survey techniques, desert tortoise handling procedures, and basic health assessments. This training is highly recommended for all currently permitted and future permit applicants who plan to conduct desert tortoise handle or translocate tortoises in Utah. Completion of the course does not result in an authorization or permit, but will help with the authorization/permitting process.

Applicants must meet three criteria:

  • Successful completion of the Desert Tortoise Council’s Introduction to Desert Tortoises and Field Techniques Course, or equivalent field experience;
  • Minimum of 280 hours conducting desert tortoise surveys; and
  • Minimum of 280 hours conducting construction monitoring in desert tortoise habitat.

***All applicants must submit a completed Desert Tortoise Authorized Biologist Training Application Form.

Please bring your clean personal tortoise processing field gear and field pack. This should include a scale (and string or tape if using a spring scale), calipers, clipboard, GPS, thermometer, pens/pencils, and camera. Gloves and disinfectant will be provided.

Desert Tortoise Health Assessment Procedures for Translocations

****Courses are only scheduled when enough qualified individuals are interested.

This class is an advanced course designed to prepare students to conduct standardized health assessments required by the Service in order to conduct desert tortoise translocations. A passing certificate from this class is required for all currently permitted and future permit applicants who plan to conduct desert tortoise translocation activities in Utah. Completion of the course does not result in an authorization or permit, but will help with the authorization/permitting process.

This course requires extensive handling experience, desert experience, and education or research.See website for requirements and contact details: http://www.deserttortoise.org/hat_workshop/hat_course.html


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: June 16, 2020
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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