Environmental Assessment of a Rattlesnake Habitat

rattlesnakeThis is our first blog post and I thought I would start with a unique ground penetrating radar application. Our company was commissioned to conduct an environmental survey to locate a prairie rattlesnake habitat (hibernacula) where an endangered Alberta rattlesnake makes its winter home.

The reason it was important to locate this subsurface habitat was to confirm that a horizontal bore for pipeline construction in that area would not interfere with the Rattlesnake’s winter retreat. In order to determine the location of the habitat our ground penetrating radar service was selected because GPR technology is non-invasive and can accurately pin point and map the location and depth of the underground hibernacula without disturbing the sleeping rattlesnakes.

A Chilling Experience

gpr technicianTo complicate the task this environmental survey was to be conducted during the middle of winter in minus 40 degree Celsius temperatures. It was decided this was the best time of year to search for the hibernacula because it was during their hibernation period (primarily for the safety of the rattlesnake and our GPR technicians).  The good news is we did locate the rattlesnake habitat and they were all sound asleep!

The data was collected in the field using a 500 MHz GPR antenna for analysis then interpreted using specialized 3D software in our lab to map the survey. An area approximately 300 meters by 22 meters (985 ft by 72 ft) was defined. Using a global positioning satellite (GPS) system each of the corners of the grid areas was located for accuracy.

In conclusion Global GPR Services, using ground penetrating radar was successful in identifying the size and location of the Prairie Rattlesnake hibernacula.  The use of GPR as a non-destructive testing (NDT) technique to assist in locating subsurface animal habitats was proven to be effective with no harm to the environment or the habitat.

If you would like more details about this project you can click >>> Environmental Assessment of Rattlesnake Habitat for our white paper.

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