The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) commenced the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) in summer 2010 after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The MBHI enrolled in the program 193,000 ha of private wet- and cropland inland from potential oil-impaired wetlands. We evaluated waterfowl and other waterbird use and potential seed/tuber food resources in NRCS Wetland Reserve Program easement wetlands managed via MBHI funding and associated reference wetlands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. In Louisiana and Mississippi, nearly three times more dabbling ducks and all ducks combined were observed on managed than reference wetlands. Shorebirds and waterbirds other than waterfowl were nearly twice as abundant on managed than referenced wetlands. In Arkansas and Missouri, managed wetlands had over twice more dabbling ducks and nearly twice as many duck species than reference wetlands. Wetlands managed via MBHI in Mississippi and Louisiana contained ≥1.3 times more seed and tuber biomass known to be consumed by waterfowl than reference wetlands. Seed and tuber resources did not differ between wetlands in Arkansas and Missouri. While other studies have documented greater waterbird densities on actively than nonmanaged wetlands, our results highlighted the potential for initiatives focused on managing conservation easements to increase waterbird use and energetic carrying capacity of restored wetlands for waterbirds.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Waterbird communities and seed biomass in managed and reference-restored wetlands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley|
|Series title||Restoration Ecology|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Atlanta|
|State||Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri|
|Other Geospatial||Mississippi Alluvial Valley|