Habitat conditions during the 2010 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were characterized by average to below-average moisture and a mild winter and early spring across the entire traditional (including the northern locations) and eastern survey areas. Conditions across the Canadian prairies were similar to 2009. Portions of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba improved, but a large area along the Alberta and Saskatchewan border remained dry and moisture levels in portions of Manitoba declined from last year.
The 2010 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 3.7 million. This was similar to last year’s estimate (3.6 million) and to the 1955–2009 average (3.4 million). Wetland numbers and conditions remained excellent in the eastern U.S. prairies, but habitat conditions were poorer through the western Dakotas and Montana. The 2010 pond estimate for the north-central U.S. overall was 2.9 million, which was similar to last year’s estimate (2.9 million) and 87 percent above the long-term average (1.6 million). Fall and winter precipitation in the eastern Dakotas generally improved the good habitat conditions already present. However, wetland habitats in the western Dakotas and Montana were not recharged, resulting in poorer conditions than in 2009, at the time of the survey.
The annual survey guides the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service works in partnership with state biologists from the four flyways – the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific – to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits.
The entire “Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, 1955-2010” report can be downloaded from the Service's Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewReportsPublications/PopulationStatus/Trends/TrendReport2010.pdf
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov