Managed wetlands provide a broad spectrum of resources to migratory waterbirds (shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl) throughout the annual cycle. Successful conservation and management of waterbirds depends on integrated approaches that (1) incorporate larger spatial and temporal scales than traditional approaches to wetland management, and (2) use experimental designs to reduce uncertainty about the response of the systems to management. In a previous experiment on USFWS National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeast, we explored the effects of water-level management on migratory shorebirds in spring. We documented regional patterns of shorebird use of Refuge wetlands and showed that across the region, a slow drawdown was superior to 2 alternatives. USGS and USFWS have now cooperatively undertaken an expanded study focusing on 3 waterbird guilds in the context of the complete annual cycle and over a larger spatial extent. For this 3-yr study, now in its first year, 2 impoundments were selected at each of 23 NWRs across the Northeast and Upper Midwest Regions. Two experimental treatments (annual water regimes focused on early-season or late-season drawdowns) are being applied each year in a cross-over design. This experimental design will increase our understanding of cross-seasonal interactions which result from specific hydrologic regimes aimed at a particular waterbird guild. Monitoring will allow waterbird responses to be linked with direct effects of water management on plant and invertebrate populations. Results of this large-scale experiment will be used to motivate formal adaptive management of wetlands and waterbirds at refuges following completion of this experiment.