Field Inventories

As our name suggests, MNFI is uniquely qualified to conduct surveys for rare and exemplary natural features throughout the state of Michigan. We have a team of experts in ecology, botany, zoology, and aquatic zoology to prepare for and conduct field surveys for rare vascular plants and animals (insects, mammals, birds, mussels, snails, reptiles, amphibians, and fish), as well as rare and/or high quality natural communities. MNFI has more than 20 years of experience conducting natural features inventories on a variety of scales including state parks, state forests, large military installations, and entire counties.

Why conduct a natural features inventory?

Although MNFI maintains the most comprehensive database on rare species and natural communities in Michigan, this information is not complete. Data collection spans a long time frame (late 1800's to present) and many places have never been surveyed (or the information was never recorded). This is especially true for private land. An inventory can update older records, fill in the gaps where we have no documented survey information, and provide a more accurate picture of biodiversity in a given area. This more complete package of information provides a strong foundation for making sound land use, natural resource management, and conservation decisions.

How long does an inventory take?

Field inventory includes preparation (detailed aerial photo review, potential habitat delineation, development of rare species models, and aerial flights to confirm or eliminate sites that lack merit for ground surveys) as well as the actual field work. Preparation can take anywhere from 3-6 months depending on the scale of work. The field inventory is typically conducted from spring through fall, depending on the best time to document the presence and condition of each natural feature. The whole process typically spans a 2-year time period which allows for suitable survey conditions to be selected.

How much does an inventory cost?

Local municipalities, regional units of government, and/or conservation organizations can negotiate a contract with MNFI to conduct an inventory of natural features in their region. The type of surveys can range from a targeted group of animals such as rare grassland or forest birds to a comprehensive effort that incorporates natural communities, plants, and animals. Costs are dependent on several factors including: size of the area to be surveyed, degree of effort, number and type of species targeted, and number of sites. Other factors include: acres of natural vegetation, size and configuration of vegetation blocks, fragmentation of ownership, and access to property.

For more information please contact Brian Klatt.