The Big Dry Arm Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve March Morning on the Platte River After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset
Refuge System - HAPET
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Habitat and Population Evaluation Team

 

What We Do | Monitoring and Research | GIS Resources | Publications | Contact Us | Open / Close All

Map of the 8 state Mountain-Prairie Region.

Who We Are

Wigeon duck. Credit: Dave Herr.

Wigeon duck. Credit: Dave Herr.

The Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (HAPET) is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The HAPET office supports the conservation mission of the Service by integrating scientific data and landscape-scale conservation planning with a focus on migratory birds. This enables the Service to more effectively conserve and manage wildlife and their habitats for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation partners.

HAPET was established in 1989 with the primary mission of coordinating the Four-Square-Mile breeding waterfowl survey and implementing landscape-scale models to direct waterfowl conservation efforts in the Prairie Pothole Region. Since then, the mission of HAPET has expanded to include the conservation of most migratory birds that use the Prairie Pothole Region as breeding habitat.

The primary responsibilities of HAPET include, but are not limited to:

  • Prioritizing areas for conservation efforts to benefit wildlife populations.
  • Supporting the development and application of models to identify and prioritize areas for conservation efforts.
  • Guiding strategic habitat conservation by monitoring migratory bird populations
  • Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of land and wildlife conservation by developing computer applications to be used by the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The HAPET office has two primary offices, one in Bismarck, North Dakota, and another in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. In addition, there are satellite offices in Great Falls, Montana and Hartford, Kansas.


Monitoring and Research »

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Click a link below to view that section's content.

Bear River Watershed Conservation Area
Benefits of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to Breeding Ducks
Using North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to guide conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region
Assessing Effects of Climate Change on Waterfowl and Their Conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region
Waterfowl and Grassland Bird Benefits of CRP in the Prairie Pothole Region
Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area
Four-Square-Mile Breeding Waterfowl Survey
Assessing long-term variation in Prairie Pothole water conditions
Northern Great Plains Joint Venture
Thunderstorm Map
Upland Land Cover
Waterfowl Breeding Pair Models
Wetland Basins for the Prairie Pothole Region and Northern Great Plains
Impact of Wind Energy Development on Breeding Duck Pairs in the PPR
Grassland Bird Conservation Area (GBCA) Maps
Small Wetlands Acquisition Program
Landscape Restoration Potential
Landscape for Shorebirds During Migration
Predator Population Monitoring
Using GIS to Predict Mallard Nest Structure Occupancy


Bear River Watershed Conservation Area

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Land acquisition for the Bear River Watershed Conservation area (BRWCA) is centered on four focal species. HAPET has developed predictive models that help project managers acquire conservation easement in areas that will provide the greatest benefit to the four focal species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has established a conservation area for the Bear River watershed in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming called the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area (BRWCA) project. The BRWCA project will involve working with private landowners to establish up to 920,000 acres of voluntary conservation easements.

One of the project objectives is to maintain healthy populations of native wildlife species. Four focal species have been chosen to help with prioritizing easement acquisition –

  • Sage thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus)
  • Greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
  • American avocet (Recurvirostra Americana)
  • Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah)

The HAPET office used existing Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data and existing land cover data to build predictive models for sage thrasher and American avocet. The BBS modeling techniques were derived from similar HAPET modeling projects in the Prairie Pothole Region of the US. These models, along with existing models for Bonneville cutthroat trout and greater sage grouse, will help guide the BRWCA project managers in decisions about acquiring conservation easements in high priority habitats of the watershed.

Web link to the FWS BRWCA web page and ancillary documents: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/planning/lpp/ut/brr/brr.html

Additional Resources

Breeding Bird Survey Regression Models for the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area (2.47 MB PowerPoint)


Benefits of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to Breeding Ducks

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Cattle on Created Wetland. Credit: USFWS

Cattle on Created Wetland. Credit: USFWS

HAPET has worked with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Link to Partners page) to inventory and model the biological value of extension agreements with private landowners in the Prairie Pothole Region.

The HAPET office developed a spatial database to map and inventory wildlife extension agreements made by the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program in the Prairie Pothole Region from 1987-2004.

This data was then used with predictive models of breeding duck pair capacity to try to estimate the biological accomplishments of the program.

Our results indicate that the Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota has added approximately 75,000 ducks to each year’s fall populations. In addition, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects have also provided habitat for many species of non- game birds and promotes healthier grasslands.

Photo of a ditch plug. Credit: USFWS

Ditch plug. Credit: USFWS

Variables used in the Modeling Process

    i. Breeding Pairs are a Function of:
  • Duck Species
  • Class of Wetland Basin (Temporary, Seasonal, Semi-permanent, etc.)
  • Geographic Location of Wetland Basin
  • Size of Wetland Basin
  • Average Proportion Full of Wetland Basin

    ii. Recruits are a Function of:
  • Number of Breeding Pairs
  • Weighted average recruitment rate derived from Four Square Mile Breeding Pair counts and species-specific recruitment rate estimates for each District. (Assumes recruitment rate for Districts is representative of recruits realized on PFW projects)

    iii. Fall Flight
  • Adult survival
  • Combination of the Adults (pair) and Young produced (recruits)

Biological Accomplishments:

Luiska site. Credit: USFWS

Luiska site. Credit: USFWS

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreement 1987-2004
(Created and Restored Wetlands)
State Pair / Acre Average Annual Recruit Cumulative Fall Flight
North Dakota 1.18 28,100 724,791
South Dakota .96 44,793 1,383,437


Using North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to guide conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region

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The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides continent-wide population information for many North American bird species. In addition to examining how well the BBS survey routes represent the surrounding landscapes, HAPET uses BBS data to develop spatial models that prioritize landscapes for bird conservation.

  • Photo of an Avocet. Credit: Dave Herr.

    Avocet. Credit: Dave Herr.
     

  • Predicted number of Soras per 5-ha sample unit across the PPR portion of North Dakota. Credit: USFWS.

    Predicted number of Soras per 5-ha sample unit across the PPR portion of North Dakota. Credit: USFWS.

  • Priority areas form marbled godwit conservation in the Prairie-Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota. Credit: USFWS.

    Priority areas form marbled godwit conservation in the Prairie-Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota. Credit: USFWS.

The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is an annual, continent-wide survey that is the primary source of information about populations of many North American bird species. Still, it is not well known how well BBS routes represent populations across the landscape. To try to better understand this, the HAPET office used digital land cover data to look at how well BBS routes represented the surrounding landscape in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota. Our results suggest that the BBS is a valuable tool for guiding conservation in the region, especially for species associated with uplands and shallow wetlands.

The HAPET Office also uses geo-referenced BBS data with land cover information to develop spatially explicit habitat models to predict the occurrence and density of priority bird species in the Prairie Pothole Region. By including appropriate habitat, climate, and survey variables, we are able to remove positive spatial autocorrelation from model residuals and elucidate biologically meaningful relationships.

Maps developed from BBS data are one of the several biological factors used to guide acquisition of wetland and grassland easements for conservation of migratory birds in the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture.


Assessing Effects of Climate Change on Waterfowl and Their Conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region

Assessing effects of climate change on waterfowl and their conservation in the PPR. Credit: USFWS

(Click image for larger version) Assessing effects of climate change on waterfowl and their conservation in the PPR. Credit: USFWS

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HAPET is assessing possible effects that climate change could have on waterfowl in the Prairie Pothole Region of the U.S. Habitat loss and changing agricultural practices may overshadow direct effects of climate change to waterfowl. Extensive monitoring will be necessary to fully evaluate climate change management practices.

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is the most important waterfowl production area in North America. However, waterfowl populations are predicted to decline because of climate change-induced drying of wetlands across the central and western PPR. As a result, changes in the geographic focus of PPR waterfowl conservation have been recommended, which could have long-lasting and costly impacts across the PPR. The HAPET office is assessing potential effects of climate change on waterfowl conservation in the region. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that the PPR climate has changed in recent decades, but rather than decreasing as predicted, wetland numbers in the PPR have increased or show no trend. Gradients in habitat loss across the PPR likely will be exacerbated as increased moisture, warmer temperatures, and changing agricultural practices stimulate intensification of land use. Consequently, direct effects of climate change on PPR wetlands and waterfowl may be overshadowed by indirect effects such as habitat loss. In addition, land costs and factors influencing waterfowl productivity indicate that conservation in the central and western portion of the PPR is more cost-effective than conservation in the eastern PPR. Acquiring reliable information to guide decisions will require extensive monitoring to develop competing models that can be evaluated to direct policy and management in an adaptive manner.


Waterfowl and Grassland Bird Benefits of CRP in the Prairie Pothole Region

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  • Ditched wetland. Credit: USFWS

    Ditched wetland. Credit: USFWS

  • Pre-ditched wetland. Credit: USFWS

    Pre-ditched wetland. Credit: USFWS

  • CRP conversion NW of Medina. Credit: USFWS.

    CRP conversion NW of Medina. Credit: USFWS.

  • Eggs in nest. Credit: USFWS.

    Eggs in nest. Credit: USFWS.

  • Farming operation. Credit: USFWS.

    Farming operation. Credit: USFWS.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has benefited both waterfowl and grassland bird species. The HAPET office, along with its partners, has evaluated the full impacts of CRP and how wildlife populations will be effected with the loss

In 2005, the HAPET office partnered with USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, University of Montana, and USDA to conduct an evaluation of the benefits of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) for waterfowl and grassland birds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Farm Programs (e.g. CRP) and Policy (e.g., Swampbuster), has the ability to impact wildlife populations in the PPR more than any other government agency.

For waterfowl, we estimated a 30% increase in duck production as a result of increased nest success with CRP. Additionally, CRP cover has also had a positive impact on breeding pairs using wetlands and we estimate that 30% more breeding duck pairs than similar classed wetlands in crop fields. We also evaluated the Wetland Conservation Provision (commonly known as the “Swampbuster Provision”) of the Farm Program. We estimated that without Swampbuster, a large number of small, shallow wetlands would be at risk to drainage. If this wetland loss occurred, the breeding duck population would decline in the U.S. portion of the Prairie Pothole Region by 37 percent.

For grassland passerine bird species (i.e., Sedge Wren, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bobolink, and Western Meadowlark), termination of the CRP would result in population declines ranging from 2 to 52 percent, depending on species. Our sample-based extrapolations predicted that conversion of CRP grasslands to cropland in the same area would result in the combined loss of more than 1.8 million individuals of the five passerine species.

Our findings reinforce the importance of the CRP to abundance of waterfowl and grassland birds in the northern Great Plains, and indicate that loss of CRP cover would have strong negative effects on many species.

We are currently refining this analysis through a new partnership with USDA, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture and Ducks Unlimited to evaluate the continued benefits of CRP, impacts from the reduction in CRP acres, and spatial tools to inform CRP maintenance and delivery.In 2005, the HAPET office partnered with USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, University of Montana, and USDA to conduct an evaluation of the benefits of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) for waterfowl and grassland birds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Farm Programs (e.g. CRP) and Policy (e.g., Swampbuster), has the ability to impact wildlife populations in the PPR more than any other government agency.

For waterfowl, we estimated a 30% increase in duck production as a result of increased nest success with CRP. Additionally, CRP cover has also had a positive impact on breeding pairs using wetlands and we estimate that 30% more breeding duck pairs than similar classed wetlands in crop fields. We also evaluated the Wetland Conservation Provision (commonly known as the “Swampbuster Provision”) of the Farm Program. We estimated that without Swampbuster, a large number of small, shallow wetlands would be at risk to drainage. If this wetland loss occurred, the breeding duck population would decline in the U.S. portion of the Prairie Pothole Region by 37 percent.

For grassland passerine bird species (i.e., Sedge Wren, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bobolink, and Western Meadowlark), termination of the CRP would result in population declines ranging from 2 to 52 percent, depending on species. Our sample-based extrapolations predicted that conversion of CRP grasslands to cropland in the same area would result in the combined loss of more than 1.8 million individuals of the five passerine species.

Our findings reinforce the importance of the CRP to abundance of waterfowl and grassland birds in the northern Great Plains, and indicate that loss of CRP cover would have strong negative effects on many species.

We are currently refining this analysis through a new partnership with USDA, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture and Ducks Unlimited to evaluate the continued benefits of CRP, impacts from the reduction in CRP acres, and spatial tools to inform CRP maintenance and delivery.

Assessing benefits of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program to Waterfowl and Grassland Birds.

(Click image for larger version) Assessing benefits of the USDA Conservation Reserve Program to Waterfowl and Grassland Birds.


Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area

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  • Grassland bird usage. Credit: USFWS.

    Grassland bird usage. Credit: USFWS.

  • Landscape evaluation: Ag Development Potential. Credit: USFWS

    Landscape evaluation: Ag Development Potential. Credit: USFWS

  • Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area (FHLCA): Topeka Shiner. Credit: USFWS.

    Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area (FHLCA): Topeka Shiner. Credit: USFWS.

Authorized in 2010 the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area (FHLCA) was established to protect a unique and highly diverse 3.3 million-acre of tallgrass-praire in eastern Kansas. HAPET has worked provided assistance in planning and development of spatial models used to target high priority areas within the FHLCA.

The Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area (FHLCA) is a landscape-scale conservation strategy to help protect a unique and highly diverse area of the United States known as the Flint Hills tallgrass region in eastern Kansas. This conservation area is important for maintaining the integrity of tallgrass-prairie wildlife habitat, stream water quality, and the rich agricultural heritage of the Flint Hills.

HAPET has provided assistance in project area delineation, planning documents (environmental assessment, land protection plan). We have led the development of spatial models for priority federal trust species and the conservation strategy for the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area. We have worked closely with the FHLCA Project Leader as well as other FWS programs, the state of KS, Universities and NGOs to develop baseline information, prioritization systems, and applications of spatial data and models to prioritize 1.1 million acres easement acquisition following Strategic Habitat Conservation.

For more information about the FHLCA please click here.


Four-Square-Mile Breeding Waterfowl Survey

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  • Four-Square-Mile observer. Credit: USFWS.

    Four-Square-Mile observer. Credit: USFWS.

  • Four-Square-Mile observer. Credit: USFWS.

    Four-Square-Mile observer. Credit: USFWS.

  • Prairie Pothole arial photo. Credit: USFWS.

    Prairie Pothole aerial view. Credit: USFWS.

  • Photo of a Ruddy Duck. Credit: Dave Herr.

    Ruddy Duck. Credit: Dave Herr.

The Four-Square-Mile Survey was originally developed by scientists at USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center as a means of assessing the contribution of National Wildlife Refuge System land, in the Prairie Pothole Region, to continental waterfowl populations. This survey has been conducted since 1987 and continues presently.

Each year since 1987, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) can be seen traversing the prairie, moving from pothole to pothole scanning the wetlands for breeding duck pairs. This data is collected as part of a comprehensive breeding waterfowl monitoring program conducted in the Prairie Pothole Region known as the “Four-Square-Mile Survey”. The Four-Square-Mile Survey (FSMS) was designed to assess differing rates of waterfowl use on federally owned lands, conservation easements, and private lands, as well as provide estimates of breeding duck populations within and among different wetland management districts. The HAPET offices, which have conducted the FSMS since 1990, presently sample 704 survey plots twice annually - in May and early June. Pair surveys are conducted on 5,750 “pair ponds” throughout the U.S. portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. Pair survey data are integrated with annual remote sensing of wetland conditions on approximately 77,000 wetland basins to produce estimates of breeding pair abundance of 13 duck species and production estimates for the five most common duck species (mallard, northern pintail, blue-winged teal, gadwall, and northern shoveler). Field data is collected primarily by Service staff from their respective field stations. Data from this survey has also been used to target easement acquisition, evaluate effects of conservation programs, inform Farm Bill programs, monitor landscape change, assess wetland dynamics, guide evaluation of the effects of wind energy development on waterfowl, and provide baseline data used in development of spatially explicit models for waterfowl and non-game birds. The FSMS and its products were models for the concept of Strategic Habitat Conservation, which was recently adopted by the Service.

Another major benefit provided by the FSMS is the HAPET offices' extensive records of annual water conditions for 70,000 wetlands, which include the second driest drought of the 20th century and the wettest period in the past 130 and possibly 500 years. These data are being incorporated into a variety of projects that use this long-term, rigorous dataset to assess potential impacts of climate change in the Prairie Pothole Region, including determination of mechanisms influencing wetland water levels, improvement of wetland monitoring programs, and modeling of response to climate change by wetland- dependent birds.

To find out more about the Four-Square Mile survey in Minnesota and Iowa click here.

Additional Resources

Upland Accessibility by Breeding Duck Pairs in the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Area (4.5 MB JPG)
Four Iterations of the Thunderstorm Map- 1995-2012 (1.176 MB JPG)
Assessing breeding populations of ducks by Alex Dzubin 
Notes on conducting waterfowl breeding population surveys in the north central states by M.C. Hammond
Evaluations of duck habitat and estimation of duck population sizes with a remote-sensing-based system by Cowarding et al. 1995
Classification of natural ponds and lakes in the glaciated prairie region by Robert Stewart and Harold Kantrud

 


Assessing long-term variation in Prairie Pothole water conditions

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Assessing long-term variation in Prairie Pothole water conditions: 20-year interpolation of basin wet area by regime. Credit: USFWS.

(Click image for larger version) Assessing long-term variation in Prairie Pothole water conditions: 20-year interpolation of basin wet area by regime. Credit: USFWS.

Wetland data has been gathered on approximately 43,000 wetland basins since 1987. This data has allowed the HAPET office to create models that assess the impact climate change will have on waterfowl production in the Prairie Pothole Region.

Because of their sensitivity to temperature and precipitation, wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) are predicted to undergo changes in number, total wet area, and hydroperiod as a result of climate change. The Bismarck HAPET office is in a unique position to study climate change effects on wetlands and wildlife in the PPR, as we have collected data on water conditions at approximately 43,000 wetland basins annually every year since 1987. This time period includes the second driest drought of the 20th 130 years and possibly 500 years. In addition, HAPET has an extensive library of data and models for waterfowl and other birds, including more than1.5 million observations of waterfowl collected on the Four-Square-Mile Survey.

Scenario-based simulations suggest that wetlands in the central and western portions of the PPR will become drier, with subsequent reductions in waterfowl carrying capacity and brood survival. Publications based on these scenarios suggest that conservation efforts should be shifted east, where wetter conditions prevail. However, duck densities are lower in the eastern PPR, few wetlands and little grassland (which is essential for successful nesting) remain there, and land prices are higher.

The HAPET office has analyzed May pond numbers collected across the entire PPR by the Division of Migratory Bird Management over a 40-year period to determine how well scenario- based simulations agree with actual numbers of wet ponds over time. May pond numbers in many strata have increased, and no strata showed significant declines.

In addition, the HAPET office has assessed the effects of re-directing conservation actions to the eastern part of the Prairie Pothole Region. We found that maintaining the current focus of habitat protection in the western and central portions of the Prairie Pothole Region still appears to be the most cost effective approach for maintaining current waterfowl carrying capacity.

Our results support the current focus of conservation actions and suggest the need for caution in making substantial changes in priorities and successful conservation programs. We recommend that a data-driven approach be used to resolve uncertainties regarding both direct and indirect effects of climate change on PPR wetlands and waterfowl and guide conservation programs.

Assessing long-term variation in Prairie Pothole water conditions: 20-year interpolation of basin wet area by regime.  Credit: USFWS.

(Click image for larger version) Assessing long-term variation in Prairie Pothole water conditions: 25-year time series of plot 182. Credit: USFWS.


Northern Great Plains Joint Venture

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Photo from the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture.  Credit: USFWS.

Northern Great Plains Joint Venture. Credit: USFWS.

The Northern Great Plains Joint Venture (NGPJV) is primarily comprised of short and mixed-grass prairie in an arid to semi-arid unglaciated landscape. Human altered landscapes have likely had negative impacts on many wildlife species of birds in the NGPJV. HAPET and other partners in the NGPJV have been working on decision-support tools to help protect crucial wildlife habitat in the joint venture.

The Northern Great Plains Joint Venture (NGPJV) includes portions of North Dakota and South Dakota west of the Missouri River, the northeastern portion of Wyoming and a large part of Montana south of the high-line and east of the foothills. The NGPJV is dominated by herbaceous (59.7%), shrub/scrub (14.5%) and cultivated crops (11.6%) as described by the National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2006).

The maps provided are a few of the products available to the NGPJV for use in building priority bird habitat models, decision support tools and for communication purposes. Data throughout the NGPJV will continue to be compiled for future use.

  • Conceptual model to identify locations to increase waterfowl recruitment with wetland creation, grassland restoration, and habitat protection.
    • Large patches of grasslands and high densities of wetland basins will likely be necessary to maintain waterfowl nesting habitat and reproduction in the NGPJV. This decision support tool could be used to identify locations necessary to protect existing areas of grasslands, wetlands and also where to focus efforts to restore grasslands and wetlands.
  • Historic habitat use by whooping crane in North and South Dakota
    • We are using confirmed historic whooping crane sighting data between 1990 and 2011 to develop a predictive model relating sightings to landscape level habitat use in North and South Dakota. These sightings may potentially be biased because of the opportunistic observations and locations of staffed national wildlife refuges.
  • Newly created routes in the Sprague’s pipit distribution as a result of energy development
    • Oil, gas, and wind power has continued to increase throughout the NGPJV and the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture (PPJV) which is thought to negatively impact wildlife. The infrastructure of energy development also negatively affects habitat, increases fragmentation and likely has some negative influence on wildlife populations via direct mortality.
  • National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data conversion to wetland basins throughout the NGPJV
    • Wetland basin data is created from NWI data using a specific set of rules to combine and collapse adjacent polygons and reassign the resulting polygon the deepest water regime from the contributing water bodies.

Additional Resources

Northern Great Plains Joint Venture Area Map (2.77 MB PDF)
Conceptual Breeding Waterfowl Conservation Matrix in the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture (2.47 MB PDF)
Distribution and Grassland Cover in the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture (2.82 MB PDF)
Oil, Gas and Wind Turbine Locations in the Sprague's Pipit Distribution in the NGPJV abd PPJV (2.03 MB JPG)
Wetland Basins in the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture Portion of North and South Dakota (3.6 MB PDF)
Whooping Crane Sightings 1990 - 2011 (2.13 MB JPG)


Thunderstorm Map

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Named for its similar appearance to a weather radar image, the Thunderstorm Map is one of the HAPET office’s most recognizable products. The Thunderstorm Map highlights upland accessibility for breeding pairs of waterfowl, and has been used to direct conservation efforts to areas of high importance.

One of the most recognized HAPET products is the “Thunderstorm Map.” This map was an outcome of the Multi Agency Approach to Planning and Evaluation (MAAPE) process that was conducted during the early years of the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture (PPJV). The MAPPE effort highlighted the need for a tool that could be used to identify and prioritize upland nesting cover to protect for nesting waterfowl. The HAPET offices used a combination of National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) wetland data, pair/wetland relationship models, and distances that hen mallards, blue-winged teal, northern pintails, gadwall, and northern shovelers commonly travel from wetlands to upland nesting sites. The result of this model is the ability to compare grassland across the landscape and prioritize conservation based on levels of biological benefit.

Our duck priority map has been used extensively by PPJV partners to prioritize and target the conservation and management of uplands in areas with access by high densities of breeding pairs of ducks. Examples include targeting the conservation of native grassland using fee purchases or grassland easements and the restoration of grass cover by the USDA Conservation Reserve Program.

Additional information describing the development of the breeding duck pair prediction models and application of the Thunderstorm Map can be found in Reynolds et al. (2006, 2007) or by contacting one of the USFWS Habitat Population Evaluation Team Offices located in Bismarck, ND (Chuck Loesch), Fergus Falls, MN (Dan Hertel), or Great Falls, MT (Sean Fields).

Additional Resources

Upland Accessibility by Breeding Duck Pairs in the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Area (4.5 MB JPG)
Four Iterations of the Thunderstorm Map- 1995-2012 (1.176 MB JPG)


Upland Land Cover

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2011 Landcover Classification.  Credit: USFWS.

(Click image for larger version) 2011 Landcover Classification. Credit: USFWS.

The development of a large scale land cover data set has allowed HAPET to model predicted daily survival rates for nesting waterfowl and quantify the distribution and acreage of remaining native grasslands. Overall classification accuracy for a final mosaic of land cover exceeded 80 percent.

During the mid-1990s, a number of HAPET planning processes and evaluation activities were concluding that regional digital land cover data would be highly valuable information. Preliminary results of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Evaluation Study indicated that daily survival rates (DSR) of duck nests located in CRP was related to the amount of perennial cover in the surrounding four-square- mile landscape. Additionally, during the Multi Agency Approach to Planning and Evaluation (MAAPE) planning process, protection of all existing native grassland was identified as an objective in each Wetland Management Districts. The development of land cover data would allow HAPET to model predicted DSR for nesting waterfowl and quantify the distribution and acreage of remaining native grasslands. In many states, including Montana and South Dakota, the GAP program that was initiated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and eventually the U.S. Geological Survey, was producing land cover information, however, no land cover information was available for North Dakota and an evaluation of the utility of available GAP produced data was necessary.

Pilot Project
During summer 1996, the HAPET Office initiated a pilot project (using funds made available by the Mississippi and Central Flyways) to develop and test methodology for using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) Satellite Imagery (30 meter resolution) to classify perennial cover in central North Dakota. Eight land cover classes were of interest and included 1) wetland, 2) native grassland, 3) undisturbed grassland (primarily CRP), 4) alfalfa hayland, 5) cropland, 6) forest/shelterbelt, 7) urban, and 8) barren.

May 1993 and September 1995 image dates were acquired and ground data was collected for both training the classification process and conducting a subsequent accuracy assessment. Within class accuracies for the land covers of major interest were adequate and the decision was made to expand the land cover project to include all of east-river North and South Dakota. GAP land cover data was acquired from Montana for use in the Northeast Montana WMD.

Operational Project
In 1997, the Great Plains Regional Office of Ducks Unlimited joined the effort and partnered with the HAPET Office. Satellite images were purchased with funds provided by the Mountain-Prairie National Wildlife Refuge System program, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Coordinator, and Ducks Unlimited. Collection of ground data was shared. During the summers of 1997-99, 954,865 acres of ground data were collected (61 percent cropland, 25 percent grassland, 9 percent undisturbed grass, 3 percent hayland, and 1 percent each barren and forested land. The ground data was divided into two sets with one half of the data used for training the classification process and the remaining half used to conduct an accuracy assessment. Overall classification accuracy for a final mosaic of land cover exceeded 80 percent. User accuracy for individual TM scenes ranged from 80-92 percent. Wetlands were classified from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data. A processing mask of wetland areas was incorporated into the raw imagery prior to the upland classification process.

A small acreage of open water was detected from the TM imagery outside of NWI wetlands. Land cover classes were cross-walked to conform to the National Vegetation Classification Standard to the formation level.

Update
For More information about HAPET’s latest land cover model please contact:

Mike Estey
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team

530 W. Maple
Hartford, KS 66854
(620) 392-5553 ext. 118
Mike_Estey@fws.gov


Waterfowl Breeding Pair Models

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Canvas pair.  Credit: USFWS.

Canvasback pair. Credit: USFWS.

Breeding waterfowl home range data combined with data collected from the Four Square Mile survey have allowed statisticians to create a model that predict how many pairs of waterfowl will use a wetland.

Data from the Four Square Mile Survey (FSMS) have been used by the HAPET Office and statisticians from the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center to develop sophisticated models that predict the number of breeding duck pairs that are attracted to prairie pothole wetlands. This number of breeding duck pairs attracted to wetlands varies by the size of the wetland as well as the duck species. Wetlands in the prairies are dynamic in nature; wet one year and dry the next. To account for the temporal water dynamics, the average percent that a basin was full was modeled using data collected during the Four Square Mile Survey. In general, small wetlands attract pairs at a higher rate than larger wetlands. Within a duck species, pairs were attracted to different classes of wetlands at different rates. Smaller, shallower wetlands tend to attract breeding duck pairs at a higher rate than do deeper, larger wetlands.

One of the most recognizable products developed from FSMS data is the waterfowl breeding pair accessibility map, also known as the Thunderstorm Map. This decision-support tool provides a spatially- explicit, scientific foundation for targeting millions of conservation dollars annually by the Service and partners for easement acquisition, Partners for Fish and Wildlife private land projects, and other conservation actions for breeding waterfowl.

Pairs Acres graphic.  Credit: USFWS.

Pairs Acres graphic. Credit: USFWS.

The average percent was found to be related to the location of the wetland, the type of wetland, and its size. This example (0.4 acre seasonal wetland) illustrates how a wetland basins’ size would be adjusted prior to modeling its potential to attract duck pairs and how the average percent Full varies by geographic location.

Predicting Mallard Pairs

Wetland Parameters:
CLASS = Semipermanent
SIZE = 25 acres
LOCATION (x;y)]465,194; 5,071,076
PCTFULL = (159.065 + (.34 * x-coord/1000) + (-.022*y-coord/1000)) /100=.63

Model Elements:
pctfullac = 25 * .63 = 15.75
sqrtac = 5
sqrtacx = (xcoord/1000 * sqrtac) = 2,325.97
sqrtacy = (ycoord/1000 * sqrtac) = 25,355.38

Regression Equation:
Mallard Pairs = (.00901236 * pctfullac) + (5.90344708 * sqrtac) + (-.00185253 * sqrtacx) + (-.00080392 *sqrtacy)

Predicting Mallard Pairs.  Credit: USFWS.

Pairs Acres graphic. Credit: USFWS.

Predicted Pairs = .14194467 + 29.51723540 - 4.3089292 - 20.38369709 = 4.96655348

Using models such as the example for mallards on a semipermanent wetland in central Stutsman County, North Dakota, pairs for mallard, northern pintail, gadwall, blue-winged teal, and northern shoveler can be predicted for each wetland basin in the PPR of the US.


Wetland Basins for the Prairie Pothole Region and Northern Great Plains

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North Dakota wetland.  Credit: USFWS.

North Dakota wetland. Credit: USFWS.

During the 1970s, a National Wetland Inventory program was created to map and classify wetland basins. More than 250 wetland classes were used to describe wetland in the Prairie Pothole Region. HAPET has worked to reclassify these wetland basins into 5 classes.

A detailed inventory of regional wetland resources is critical to understanding local and regional values to wetland dependent wildlife, as well as supporting the development of effective strategies for resource and population conservation. During the late 1970s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) initiated a National Wetland Inventory (NWI) program to map the wetland resources in the United States (see http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/index.html). Wetlands were mapped using high-altitude photography, classified with a habitat-based classification system developed by Cowardin et al. (1979), and digitized to produce a GIS data layer.

More than 250 NWI wetland class were used to describe wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region and Northern Great Plains, and many wetland catchments or basins were mapped into two or more wetland habitats. Because most information collected for wetland dependent migratory birds generally relates to an entire basin as opposed to habitat regions within a basin, we developed an automated process for converting “wetlands” classified by the NWI (Figure 1) to “Basins” (Figure 2).

The basin reclassification results in 5 basin classes – temporary, seasonal, semi-permanent, lake, and river, and primarily uses the NWI regime modifiers to reclassify all NWI wetlands that comprised a basin to a single class dictated by the deepest water regime. The basin data has many uses and serves as the foundation for estimating distribution and density of waterfowl in the development of the Thunderstorm Map. Guidelines for reclassifying NWI wetland polygons to basins is described by Cowardin et al. (1995) and Johnson and Higgins (1997).

Additional Resources

Evaluations of Duck Habitat and Estimation of Duck Population Sizes with a Remote (567 KB MB PDF)


Impact of Wind Energy Development on Breeding Duck Pairs in the PPR

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Photo of wind towers poking through low clouds.  Credit: USFWS.

Wind towers poking through low clouds. Credit: USFWS.

The impact of wind turbines on nesting waterfowl was assessed in North and South Dakota. Although a direct relationship was not found, overall a 20 percent decrease in nesting was observed in wind farms.

We conducted 10,321 wetland surveys during 2008-2010 in south-central North Dakota and north- central South Dakota to assess the impact of wind energy development on five species of breeding ducks (mallard, Northern pintail, blue-winged teal, gadwall, and Northern shoveler). Using established breeding pair survey techniques, we surveyed wetlands on control sites and wind development sites, which were defined as wetlands within 800 meters of wind turbines. Response varied among species and years, but overall we observed a 20 percent decrease in breeding pair densities on sites with wind development. The direct cause is difficult to discern but may be related to land use, activity, and infrastructure associated with wind energy development, and/or age of the wind farm.

For more information see Loesch et al. 2013. Effect of wind energy development on breeding duck densities in the Prairie Pothole Region. Journal of Wildlife Management DOI:10.1002/jwmg.481


Grassland Bird Conservation Area (GBCA) Maps

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Breeding Bird Survey results indicate that grassland bird populations are declining at a faster rate than any other group of North American birds. In recognition of this fact, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, a conservation partnership of states, non-governmental organizations and federal agencies, has adopted a primary goal of reversing the declining trend of grassland birds.

One factor thought to be adversely impacting grassland birds on their breeding grounds is the continued fragmentation of their habitat. Grassland Bird Conservation Areas (GBCAs) are priority areas for grassland protection and enhancement that are thought to provide suitable habitat for many or all priority grassland bird species in the tall grass prairie portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. Protocols for delineating GBCAs were developed in cooperation with the HAPET office in USFWS Region 6, Bismarck, North Dakota.

All GBCAs consist of a grassland core with a surrounding 1-mile wide matrix. Core areas are at least 95% grassland, at least 50 m from woody vegetation, and may contain up to 30% wetland habitat. GBCAs have been defined at 3 levels to address the needs of grassland breeding birds with differing levels of requirements. Each type is differentiated on the basis of size, width, amount of grass in the landscape, and the types of wetlands considered compatible (e.g., temporary wetlands are considered compatible for all GBCA types because they are typically dry for much of the nesting season).

  • Type 1 – at least 640 acres of grassland at least 1 mile wide. Matrix and core are at least 40% grassland.
  • Type 2 – at least 160 acres of grassland at least ½ mile wide. Matrix and core are at least 30% grassland.
  • Type 3 – at least 55 acres of grassland at least ¼ mile wide. Matrix and core are at least 20% grassland.

Land Use

Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

Wetland

Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

  Grassland

C

C

C

 

  Temporary

C

C

C

  Hayland

N

N

N

 

  Saturated

C

C

C

  Cropland

N

N

N

 

  Seasonal

C

C

<30%

  Barren

N

N

N

 

  Semi-permanent

<30%

<30%

<30%

  Scrub/shrub

H

H

H

 

  Permanent

<30%

<30%

<30%

  Urban/developed

H

H

H

 

  Forested

H

H

H

  Trees

H

H

H

 

  Scrub/shrub

H

H

H

Fact sheet

Click to view GBCA maps

For additional information about grassland birds contact:

Diane Granfors 
Region 7 Inventory and Monitoring Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
Diane_Granfors@fws.gov



Small Wetlands Acquisition Program

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The purpose of the SWAP is the conservation of small wetlands and associated upland habitats in the conservation of breeding waterfowl, while providing collateral benefits to migrant waterfowl and other species of wetland and grassland dependant migratory birds. HAPET has developed a set of tools for targeting the acquisitions of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) and conservation easements.  The tools enable managers to assess the potential population benefits of the conservation of every 40 ac parcel within Minnesota’s Wetland Management Districts (WMDs) for

  • Wetland restoration and protection, based on
    • Integrity of the existing wetland complex
    • Predicted landscape-scale nest success; and
  • Grassland restoration and protection, based on
    • Landscape-scale duck pair potential (accessibility to upland nesting hens)
    • Contribution to a Type I Grassland Bird Conservation Area

To develop these criteria in a spatial context, we developed and applied a series of models.
Integrity of the existing wetland complex Characteristics of wetland complexes affect the functionality of individual wetlands they encompass, particularly for species that use small wetlands.  Logistic models predicting probability of wetland use based on the wetland complex within a 2 mi radius and wetland size were developed for a suite of dabbling duck and diving duck species and black terns using 10 years of 4 mi2 survey data.  For each species, wetland size was fixed at 2 ac and models were applied to wetland data modified from the National Wetlands Inventory.  Individual species data were then merged to assess the relative potential of 2 ac wetlands, in their existing wetland complex context, to support multiple species.  This composite data layer was interpreted as an index to existing wetland complex integrity.
Predicted nest success – It is not desirable to restore wetlands for waterfowl in landscapes where nests have a low probability of hatching.  Nest success was predicted as a function of the amount of grass in the landscape using the following function.  This model was applied to a digital data layer of percent grass in a 2 mi radius (described elsewhere). 

Percent Grass in a 2 mile radius

Percent Grass in a 2 mile radius

The index for wetland complex integrity and nest success were each rescaled from 0-100 and summed to develop an index to priority for wetland restoration and protection (likewise, rescaled from 0-100).
Duck pair potential – This is a thunderstorm “map” of access of upland nesting waterfowl hens to existing or potential grassland habitat.  The derivation of this data layer is described elsewhere on this web site.
Contribution to a Type I GBCA – The acres needed to create a Type I GBCA was an intermediate product of the GBCA delineation process (described elsewhere).  Acres needed were subtracted from 640 ac (the minimum area of the Type I GBCA) as an index to grassland patch size and blockiness (greater being better for both). 

Duck pair potential and contributions to a Type I GBCA were each rescaled from 0-100 and summed to develop an index to priority for grassland restoration and protection (likewise, rescaled from 0-100).

Lastly, composite indices of priority for wetland restoration/protection and grassland restoration/protection were summed to create an overall SWAP priority index (rescaled to 100).  An Excel spread sheet of a legal description and the raw data and derived indices for every 40 ac parcel in Minnesota’s WMDs was developed and distributed to WMDs.  Managers are advised to use either the wetland restoration/protection priority score, the grassland restoration/protection priority score, or the overall SWAP priority score, depending on the nature of the proposed acquisition or management actions.

View SWAP MAP


Landscape Restoration Potential

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Arguably, the richest most productive land in the prairie pothole region of Minnesota and Iowa is drained and being farmed. The lands that are left in a more natural condition for wildlife could be considered marginal. Conservation agencies have a tendency to concentrate their efforts in areas where existing habitat remains in the landscape because those areas are less degraded and working in these areas seemingly are less expensive. Whether wildlife agencies are working in the best possible areas has always been a concern. Estimating the potential of a landscape for productivity has been a concept in the back of our minds over the years. The current availability of various data layers and GIS tools has made it possible to develop a method to measure or estimate the potential of a landscape for duck production.

Percent Grass in a 2 mile radius

Fact Sheet

Landscape Restoration Potential Product Summary

 For additional information about landscape restoration potential contact:

Dan Hertel
Wildlife Biologist
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
Dan_Hertel@fws.gov


Landscape for Shorebirds During Migration

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The extensive wetlands of the Prairie Pothole Region provide stop over resources for large populations of shorebirds during spring and fall migration. Shorebirds rely on the early availability of food in small, shallow wetlands and on the edges of larger water bodies to continue their journey to the Arctic breeding grounds, or to build up reserves for nesting in the Northern Great Plains and Canada. The vastness of the prairie landscape presents a challenge to scientists studying these birds during spring and fall passage; although some larger areas will have birds year after year, most of the smaller stopover sites change with annual changes in water conditions.

To find solutions that address these problems, scientists at the US Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center teamed with HAPET to integrate landscape features into a broad scale migrant shorebird survey across the Dakotas and western Minnesota . The result has provided the first empirical estimates of the number of shorebirds moving through the area, and insight to landscape features sought after by birds during spring and fall migration.

Estimates reveal that 8 million birds stop in the study area during spring migration; 48% of the birds were the small Calidris species, commonly referred to as 'peeps'. For fall, estimates were 8.5 million birds with only 16% peeps (some shorebird species use different routes in spring and fall) . Spring surveys have shown three broad spatial patterns emerging from spatially explicit models predicting shorebird use based on landscape attributes of the percent of grass, density of wetlands, and average slope.

For full results see: Skagen, S.K., D.A. Granfors, and C.P. Melcher. 2008. On determining the significance of ephemeral continental wetlands to North American migratory shorebirds. auk 125:20-29.

View Shorebird Migration Suitability Maps by Species
In addition to providing population estimates, the survey were also useful for modeling and mapping landscape characteristics that are important to shorebirds during migration.
Marbled Godwit, American Avocet, and Willet were strongly associated with a high amount of grass in the landscape.
Wilson's Phalarope and Semipalmated Sandpiper were associated primarily with a large proportion of small, shallow wetlands, and secondly with the amount of grass.
Upland Sandpiper, Dunlin, Hudsonian Godwit, and White-rumped Sandpiper were associated with shallow wetlands, but not with a high amount of grass. The change in distribution of Dunlins between years indicated that inundated cropfields can play an important role in providing stopover habitat during the right climactic conditions.
The apparent differences in high suitability areas for different groups of species indicate that a 'one-size-fits-all' conservation strategy is not appropriate for shorebirds during migration, but neither must conservation strategies be implemented on a species by species basis.

 

For additional information about grassland birds contact:
Diane Granfors
Region 7 Inventory and Monitoring Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
Diane_Granfors@fws.gov


Predator Population Monitoring

In order to better manage our public properties for duck production and to maximize the benefits from our acquisition dollars more information is needed on the predator component in the landscape. Predators have a direct influence on duck nesting success. Simple knowledge of where certain predator species occur annually within managed landscapes may allow management to target practices that are beneficial to nesting ducks. Increased knowledge of predator interactions with the components of the landscapes in which they survive may allow management to adopt strategies that have a positive influence on duck production in the Prairie Pothole Region.

In 2003 - 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (HAPET) initiated a pilot project involving a predator track survey in conjunction with U.S. Geological Survey – Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. The purpose of this project was to develop a cost effective, efficient technique to determine predator species distribution and their relative abundance across the landscape. The scent-post survey presently conducted, certainly has value as an index to population status, however as an index to population abundance it falls short in providing spatially explicit information to population abundance. Ideally, this track survey will allow us to identify areas where certain predator species population abundances are either high or low provide us the opportunity to alter our management strategies to take advantage of that knowledge.

Predator Reports
Predation Management Review (February 2, 2005)
Mammalian Predator Distribution Assessment, 2003 - 2005 (Fact Sheet)
Monitoring Mammalian Predator Distributions and Development of Techniques to Assess Abundance of Predator Species (Final Report)
Technical Document on Modeling Carnivore Distributions (PDF)
Poster from Minnesota Waterfowl Association Symposium (Poster Session 2007)

Species Distribution Maps

Coyotes

Red Foxes

Raccoons

Stripped Skunks

Mink

American Badgers


Grassland Nesting Ducks: Predator Identification and Nest Success in Relation to Hostile Habitats.

Habitat Suitability Maps   

Raccoons

Stripped Skunks

Mink

Mammalian Predator Relative Abundance Assessment

Fact Sheet: Modeling and mapping mesocarnivore abundance in the Prairie Pothole Region of Minnesota

For additional information about on predators contact:

Dan Hertel
Wildlife Biologist
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
Dan_Hertel@fws.gov


Using GIS to Predict Mallard Nest Structure Occupancy

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Knowing which type of nest structure to use and where to deploy them in a landscape should be important to waterfowl managers.  Zicus et al. (2006a) studied mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) nest structure occupancy in an attempt to understand how landscape features affected structure use.  They were interested in the effect of 5 covariates, and their final fitted model was complex, including 3 interactions and 1 main effect.  More nests were initiated as the size of the open water area where structures were deployed increased.  Simultaneously, cover influence interacted with period of the nesting season such that nesting probability was positively associated with cover height and density early in the season and negatively associated with cover height and density late in the season. 

Nest Structure Occupancy

Nest success in structures is generally good (Eskowich et al. 1998) with early nests having higher nest success (M. Zicus, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, unpublished data).  Consequently, hen mortality associated with renesting (Sargeant et al. 1984) would be reduced for hens nesting in structures early in the year.  Further, brood and duckling survival from early-hatched nests is believed to be greater than that of later-hatched nests (e.g., Rotella and Ratti 1992, Dzus and Clark 1998, Krapu et al. 2000).  These understandings led Zicus et al. (2006a) to recommend that nest structures be deployed in larger wetlands where early-season residual cover in the surrounding uplands was most abundant within 1 km of the structure.  Geographic Information System (GIS) models might provide powerful tools to help waterfowl managers decide where nest structure should be placed in complex landscapes.
A model was developed that used 3 predictors: 1) nest structure type, 2) 4 measures of the size of open water area containing the structure, and 3) a measure that described the mean aggregate visual obstruction of all residual cover during the early part of the nesting season in a buffer with a 1.6 km radius around each structure. We used a bootstrap procedure to obtain an unbiased measure of future predictive performance of the models that we fit.  Unfortunately, we failed to produce a GIS model with much predictive power.
Statistical analysis suggests that the mean visual obstruction values are not likely to be useful for predicting the mean number of ducklings (across periods and years) produced in nesting structures and that the available measures of open water size (NWI and GAP) are of questionable value.

Influence of land use on Mallard Nest Structure Occupancy

Probability of Nest Structure Use

GIS Model Summary

Link to Maps            5 categories              7 categories

 For additional information about nest structure occupancy predictions contact:

Dan Hertel
Wildlife Biologist
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
Dan_Hertel@fws.gov


GIS Resources »

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The web sites below provide for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) resources for the states within the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Geospatial Services
North Dakota
South Dakota
Montana
Kansas
Wyoming
Utah
Nebraska
Colorado


Publications »

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Distribution of duck broods relative to habitat characteristics in the Prairie Pothole Region
Walker, J., J. J. Rotella, J. H. Schmidt, C. R. Loesch, R. E. Reynolds, M. S. Lindberg, J. K. Ringelman, and S. E. Stephens. 2012. Journal of Wildlife Management 77:392-404.


Assessing Wetland Changes in the Prairie Pothole Region of Minnesota from 1980-2007
Fred T. Oslund, Rex R. Johnson, and Dan R. Hertel – 2010


The past, present, and future of prairie potholes in the United States
Rex R. Johnson, Fred T. Oslund, and Dan R. Hertel – 2008


Using GIS to Predict Mallard Nest Structure Occupancy
John R. Frieberg, Michael C. Zicus, and Dan Hertel – 2005


Effects of Specialized Grazing Systems on Waterfowl Production in Southcentral North Dakota
William T. Barker, Kevin K. Sedivec, Terry A. Messmer, Kenneth F. Higgins, and Dan R. Hertel


Skagen, S.K., D.A. Granfors, and C.P. Melcher. 2008. On determining the significance of ephemeral continental wetlands to North American migratory shorebirds. auk 125:20-29.


An Integrated Strategy for Grassland Easement Acquisition in the Prairie Pothole Region, USA
Walker, J., R. Dell, R. W. Renner, J. K. Ringelman, J. J. Rotella, C. R. Loesch, K. E. Doherty, and M. S. Lindberg (2013). Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management In-Press.


Determinants of mallard and gadwall nesting on constructed islands in North Dakota
Shaffer, T. L, A. L. Dahl, R. E. Reynolds, K. L. Baer, M. A. Johnson, and G. A. Sargeant. 2006. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:129-137.


Area sensitivity in North American grassland birds: patterns, processes, and research needs
Ribic, C. A., R. R. Koford, J. R. Herkert, D. H. Johnson, R. B. Renfrew, N. D. Niemuth, D. E. Naugle, and K. K. Bakker. 2009. Auk 126:233-244.


Impact of the Conservation Reserve Program on duck recruitment in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region
Reynolds, R.E., T. L. Shaffer, R. W. Renner, W. E. Newton, and B. D. J. Batt. 2001. Journal of Wildlife Management 65:765–780.


The Farm Bill and duck production in the Prairie Pothole Region: increasing the benefits
Reynolds, R.E., T. L. Shaffer, C. R. Loesch, and R. R. Cox Jr. 2006. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34:963–974.


Waterfowl response to the Conservation Reserve Program and the Swampbuster provision in the Prairie Pothole Region, 1992-2004
Reynolds, R. E., C. R. Loesch, and B. Wangler. 2007. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency RFA05-IA-04000000-N34.


Landscape-level Planning for Conservation of Wetland Birds in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region
Niemuth, N. D., R. E. Reynolds, D. A. Granfors, R. R. Johnson, B. Wangler, and M. E. Estey. 2008. Pages 533-560 in Models for Planning Wildlife Conservation in Large Landscapes, J. J. Millspaugh and F. R. Thompson, III, eds. Elsevier Science.


Use of wetlands by spring-migrant shorebirds in agricultural landscapes of North Dakota’s Drift Prairie
Niemuth, N. D., M. E. Estey, R. E. Reynolds, C. R. Loesch, and W. A. Meeks. 2006. Wetlands 26:30-39.


Factors influencing presence and detection of breeding shorebirds in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana
Niemuth, N. D., M. E. Estey, and R. E. Reynolds. 2012. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119:37- 45.


Data for developing spatial models: criteria for effective conservation
Niemuth, N. D., M. E. Estey, and R. E. Reynolds. 2009. Pages 396-411 in Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference 2008, T. D. Rich, C. D. Thompson, D. Demarest, and C. Arizmendi, eds.


Developing spatially explicit habitat models for grassland bird conservation planning in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota
Niemuth, N. D., M. E. Estey, and C. R. Loesch. 2005. Pages 469-477 in Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference 2002, C.J. Ralph and T.D. Rich, eds. USDA Forest Service PSW-GTR-191, Albany, CA.


Management concerns of intermountain West palustrine habitats
Niemuth, N. D., M. A. Bozek, and N. F. Payne. 2004. Pages 154-184 in Wetland and riparian areas of the intermountain West: their ecology and management, M. C. McKinstry, W. Hubert, and S. H. Anderson, eds. Texas Press. 330 pp.


Influence of moisture on density and distribution of grassland birds in North Dakota
Niemuth, N. D., J. W. Solberg, and T. L. Shaffer. 2008. Condor 110:211-222.


Influence of Wind Energy Development on Presence of Black Tern and Upland-Nesting Shorebirds on Wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota
Niemuth, N. D., J. A. Walker, J. S. Gleason, C. R. Loesch, R. E. Reynolds, S. E. Stephens, and M. E. Erickson. 2013. Waterbirds (accepted).


Waterbird conservation planning in the Northern Prairie & Parkland Region: integration across borders and with other bird initiatives
Niemuth, N. D., G. W. Beyersbergen, and M. R. Norton. 2005. Pages 184-189 in Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference 2002, C.J. Ralph and T.D. Rich, eds. USDA Forest Service PSW-GTR-191, Albany, CA.


Spatial and temporal variation in wet area of wetland basins in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota
Niemuth, N. D., B. Wangler, and R. E. Reynolds. 2010. Wetlands 30:1053-1064.


Response of waterbirds to number of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, U.S.A
Niemuth, N. D., and J. W. Solberg. 2003.


Representation of landcover along Breeding Bird Survey Routes in the northern Plains
Niemuth, N. D., A. L. Dahl, M. E. Estey, and C. R. Loesch. 2007. Journal of Wildlife Management 71:2258-2265.


The development and application of spatially explicit habitat models to guide conservation of prairie grouse
Niemuth, N. D. 2011. The development and application of spatially explicit habitat models to guide conservation of prairie grouse. Studies in Avian Biology 39:3-20.


Landscape composition and greater prairie-chicken lek attendance: implications for management
Niemuth, N. D. 2005. Prairie Naturalist 37:127-142.


Identifying landscapes for greater prairie chicken translocation using habitat models and GIS: a case study
Niemuth, N. D. 2003. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31:145-155.


Benefits of the Conservation Reserve Program to Grassland Bird Populations in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota
Niemuth N.D., F. R. Quamen, D. E. Naugle, R. E. Reynolds, M. E. Estey, and T. L. Shaffer. 2007. Report prepared for the US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. RFA OS- IA-04000000-N34. (www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/grassland_birds_fws.pdf)


Effects of lake characteristics and human disturbance on lake selection by piscivorous birds in northern Wisconsin
Newbrey, J. L., M. A. Bozek, and N. D. Niemuth. 2005. Waterbirds 28:478-486.


An assessment of re-directing breeding waterfowl conservation relative to predictions of climate change
Loesch, C.R., R. E. Reynolds, and L. T. Hansen. 2012. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 3:1-22.


Effects of wind energy development on breeding duck settling in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota
Loesch, C. R., J. A. Walker, R. E. Reynolds, J. S. Gleason, N. D. Niemuth, S. E. Stephens, and M. E. Erickson. 2013. Journal of Wildlife Management 77:587-598.


Win-Win for Wind and Wildlife: A Vision to Facilitate Sustainable Development
Kiesecker, J. M., J. S. Evans, J. Fargione, K. E. Doherty, K. R. Foresman, T. H. Kunz, D. E. Naugle, N. P. Nibbelink, and N. D. Niemuth. 2011. PLoS ONE 6(4):e17566. doi:10.1371/ journal/pone.0017566.


Delineating grassland bird conservation areas in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Joint Venture
Johnson, R. R., M. E. Estey, D. A. Granfors, R. E. Reynolds, and N. D. Niemuth. 2010. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 1:38-42.


A sampling design framework for monitoring secretive marshbirds
Johnson, D. H., J. P. Gibbs, M. Herzog, S. Lor, N. D. Niemuth, C. A. Ribic, M. Seamans, T. L. Shaffer, G. Shriver, S. Stehman, and W. L. Thompson. 2009. Waterbirds 32:203-215.


The effects of a large-scale wind farm on breeding season survival of female mallards and blue-winged teal in the Prairie Pothole Region
Gue, C. T., J. A. Walker, K. R. Mehl, J. S. Gleason, S. E. Stephens, C. R. Loesch, R. E. Reynolds, and B. J. Goodwin. 2013. Journal of Wildlife Management 77:1360-1371.


Conservation planning in an era of change: state of the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region
Doherty, K. E., A. J. Ryba, C. L. Stemler, N. D. Niemuth, and W. A. Meeks. 2013. Wildlife Society Bulletin 37:546-563.


American avocet nesting on constructed islands in North Dakota
Dahl, A. L., D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, K. L. Baer, T. L. Shaffer, M. A. Johnson, and R. E. Reynolds. 2003. Prairie Naturalist 35:95-105.


Northern Prairie & Parkland Waterbird Conservation Plan
Beyersbergen, G. W., N. D. Niemuth, and M. R. Norton. 2004. Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, Denver, Colorado. 183 pp. (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/ nrcs143_013153.pdf)


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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
3425 Miriam Ave
Bismarck, ND 58501
(701) 250-4413

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
18965 County Hwy. 82
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Phone: (218) 739-2291
Fax: (218) 739-9534
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/hapet/

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
9022 Bootlegger Trail
Great Falls, MT 59404
(406) 727-7400 ext. 218

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
530 W. Maple
Hartford, KS 66854
(620) 392-5553 ext. 118

 

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.
Last modified: August 07, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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