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Tuesday, January 30 • 8:20am - 8:40am
SYMPOSIA-08: Waterbird Use at the Man-made North Ottawa Flood Damage Reduction Impoundment in West Central Minnesota

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AUTHORS. Christine Herwig, Kevin Kotts, Bruce Lenning - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. The North Ottawa Impoundment was designed with the primary purpose of mitigating damage from excessive spring runoff in a primarily agricultural watershed. Secondary objectives of this impoundment were to provide feeding and resting habitat for migratory birds, mudflat feeding areas for shorebirds, and shallow flooded vegetation for waterfowl and shorebirds. Sub-impoundments allow wildlife managers to manipulate water levels and create these opportunities. Management techniques including row crops, phosphorous capture by cattails, and water level manipulation were scheduled to be implemented in a number of the sub-impoundments in 2016. Our objectives were to monitor waterbird use at sub-impoundments with different anticipated planned management, with the ultimate goal of evaluating waterbird response of habitat management practices to inform adaptive management. We used the National Protocol Framework for the Inventory and Monitoring of Nonbreeding Waterbirds and their Habitats for our data collection methodology. Waterbird surveys were conducted approximately weekly on 5 sub-impoundments from 13 April to 2 November 2016. In 2016, dry conditions resulted in limited habitat in spring and early summer and birds were primarily using borrow areas created when dikes were built. Water conditions improved towards late summer. Over 40 species of waterbirds were observed including a few rare species and large numbers of migrating waterfowl. Although the protocol used was meant to document non-breeding waterbird use, we also documented waterfowl and other waterbird broods during summer months. Flood damage reduction impoundments can add wetland resources to landscapes where they have been lost, but they function differently than natural wetlands or typical moist soil impoundments managed primarily for wildlife. With better understanding of how and when birds are using flood damage impoundments, we can also improve future impoundment design to benefit wildlife.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 8:20am - 8:40am CST