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Volunteers Complete Avian Community Study in Hay Hollow, San Bernardino NWR
Southwest Region, December 18, 2006
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In the spring of 2006 a new wetland area was created at Hay Hollow Wash on the eastern side of San Bernardino NWR.  The refuge, with funds from The Arizona Bird Conservation Initiative, began a study focused on the effects of wetland and riparian restoration on a desert avian community.  The study was begun in the summer of 2005 and then conducted again in the summer of 2006.  This gave the refuge a before and after picture on the changes to the avian community.  The study was carried out by biological technician Lisa Walraven and volunteer Weezil Walraven every 10 days on six plots, beginning in April and concluding in August.  The data and subsequent report was analysed and completed this month by volunteer Jacob Malcom.  The six plots were based on three different habitat types found in the area, desert grassland, desert scrub, and riparian.  There were two plots for each habitat, one as a control and one as the treatment site.  It was found that while there was no statistical difference between years on treatment and control plots in species richness or species density, there was an observed difference in species that were present overall (69 in 2005 and 84 in 2006).  This difference is attributed to the presence, on the treatment plots, of waterbirds and aerialists.  The lack of quantitative differences is believed to be due to the lack of established vegetation on the margin of the new wetland.  After vegetation has had time to establish itself at this new site we believe there will be a greater difference in all categories monitored.  Therefore, we plan on continuing this study next year and then again in 2010.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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