Wildlife Conservation Day: Swift Fox Surveys

In 2023, JEO's environmental scientists were contracted to survey Swift Foxes in Dundy and Box Butte County, NE. While Swift Foxes are not federally endangered, their inclusion on Nebraska’s endangered list emphasizes the regional significance of their conservation. They rely on open, short grass prairie conservation, making their well-being intertwined with the health of our natural landscapes. Beyond mere inhabitants, they serve as indicators of ecosystem health and are valuable for monitoring local biodiversity.

The greatest threat to the Swift Fox population is habitat loss and fragmentation. The conversion of natural habitats, especially open short grass prairies, to agricultural or urban areas threatens the existence of their species. Habitat fragmentation isolates populations, preventing swift foxes from finding mates and resources.

Tasked with evaluating designated development zones, our Environmental team conducted a comprehensive survey of the region to verify the absence of endangered species.

Survey activities involved systematically driving 50-meter transects throughout the study area, supplemented by an extra 250-yard buffer during the natal den period (April 1-August 31). The goal was to detect active dens or signs such as tracks, scat, and fresh digging at den entrances. To enhance study precision, JEO employed drones for in-depth exploration. The aerial perspective offered proved vital in reaching remote locations, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the Swift Fox population in the region.

The JEO team found no evidence of Swift Foxes residing within the area. Despite the absence of activity, these surveys provided invaluable insights, enabling project progress.  By combining traditional field methods with advanced technology, JEO contributed to the preservation of specific species and the broader understanding and protection of ecosystems in Nebraska.


To learn more about Nebraska's endangered species, visit: