Effects of management and disturbance on waterbird use at Wetland Reserve Program sites in Arkansas and Missouri.
Conservation and Management of Birds
Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012, 8:30 AM -12:20 PM
Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012, 11:00 AM -11:20 AM
, Elisabeth Webb
Missouri Cooperative Fisheries and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO,
U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fisheries and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, Contact: email@example.com
The Natural Resource Conservation Service implemented the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) in summer 2010 to mitigate potential loss of wetland habitat caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The goal of MBHI was to improve wetland habitats on private farmlands, catfish ponds, and Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) easements in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley to provide additional habitats for wintering and migrating waterbirds. Priorities for WRP lands included addressing waterbird food habitats, providing habitat structure, and additional management activities such as planting and/or disking on moist-soil wetlands. We conducted bi-monthly waterbird surveys on 32 randomly selected WRP wetlands in Arkansas and Missouri from August 2011-February 2012 to quantify habitat use by fall migrating shorebirds (Charadriiformes) and wintering dabbling ducks (Anatinae). Waterbird species composition was similar to previous studies completed on WRP sites. Mean dabbling duck density (ducks/ha) was greatest at sites that had been planted (22.7±1.1), whereas mean species richness (species/ha) was greatest was greatest at sites that had been planted and experienced hunter disturbance (0.4±0.1). Sites that had been established <10 years ago had both the greatest mean shorebird density and species richness (3.5±0.9 and 0.9±0.7). Our preliminary results demonstrate the response of shorebirds and waterfowl to increased food resources on MBHI funded wetland restoration and enhancement projects. We are currently processing seed and invertebrate samples to derive food biomass and density estimates, which we will then relate directly to waterbird abundance on each site. Continuation of surveys and sampling through fall 2012 on WRP sites in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley will allow us to further evaluate the effectiveness of MBHI funded wetland management for migrating and wintering waterbirds.
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