Are waterfowl food resources limited during spring migration? A bioenergetic assessment of playas in Nebraska's rainwater basin

Wetlands
By: , and 

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Abstract

Accurate bioenergetic carrying capacity estimates of wetlands on public and private lands, as well as those managed for crop production are important for managing waterfowl populations and habitats. Given the importance of wetlands in the Rainwater Basin region of Nebraska for spring migrating waterfowl, we quantified and compared seed and aquatic invertebrate biomass and true metabolizable energy (TME) at three wetland types; public wetlands, wetlands enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and cropped wetlands. Median seed biomass estimates at public, WRP, and cropped wetlands were 593kg/ha, 561kg/ha, and 419kg/ha respectively. Cumulative TME varied among wetland type, with greater TME at cropped wetlands (2,431kcal/kg) than public (1,740kcal/kg) and WRP wetlands (1,781kcal/kg). Seed biomass estimates from this study were statistically greater than those currently used for management planning in the RWB, however, TME estimates were statistically lower than estimates currently assumed for WRP and public wetlands. Our estimates for aquatic invertebrate biomass were approximately 40-fold less than seed biomass estimates. Based on spring ponding frequency at wetlands in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin, and the caloric estimates derived for each wetland type, we concluded that the regions wetlands meet the energetic demand of spring migrating waterfowl during 10% of years.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Are waterfowl food resources limited during spring migration? A bioenergetic assessment of playas in Nebraska's rainwater basin
Series title Wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s13157-018-1047-0
Volume 39
Issue 1
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 12 p.
First page 173
Last page 184
Country United States
State Nebraska
Other Geospatial Rainwater Basin