Does presence of permanent fresh water affect recruitment in prairie-nesting dabbling ducks?

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 


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Historically, most of the Prairie Pothole Region contained limited permanent fresh water. In recent decades, permanent water bodies have been created for water-based recreation, for flood control, to increase cropland through wetland consolidation, and as part of waterfowl habitat development. We studied survival of radio-marked gadwall and mallard ducklings in wetland complexes bordering an extensive permanent water body (the McClusky Canal) in central North Dakota, and compared their survival rates (1) to those obtained on our study area before this permanent water body was created, and (2) to estimates we obtained concurrently on other study areas with little permanent water. We found that duckling survival was lower when there was substantial permanent water on the landscape, apparently because permanent water provided habitat for mink, the major predator of ducklings in our study. Permanent water allows mink populations to survive periods of drought, such as the 1988-92 drought that occurred at the beginning of our study. Environmental planners and waterfowl managers should be aware of potential risks to productivity of waterfowl and other waterbirds from development of permanent freshwater bodies in prairie pothole landscapes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Does presence of permanent fresh water affect recruitment in prairie-nesting dabbling ducks?
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 68
Issue 2
Year Published 2004
Language English
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 332
Last page 341