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Tuesday, January 30 • 9:40am - 10:00am
SYMPOSIA-08: Waterfowl Use of Restored Wetlands in the Glacial Habitat Restoration Area of Wisconsin

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AUTHORS. Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Rachel Schultz, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Jason Fleener, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Brian Glenzinski, Ducks Unlimited Inc.; Scott Hygnstrom, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Greg Kidd, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service; Kurt Waterstradt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT. The Glacial Habitat Restoration Area (GHRA) covers 558,879 acres  in east-central Wisconsin.  Numerous partners have and continue to delivery conservation programs, especially wetland restoration projects.  The GHRA landscape consists of mostly agricultural with a mix of dairy farms, forage and row crops, small woodlots, wetlands and shallow lakes.  Public lands inside the GHRA include 16,510 acres of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, 9 USFWS waterfowl production areas (WPA) totaling 4,081 acres, and 6 large state properties totaling 10,159 acres.  In spring of 2017, we initiated a field study designed to evaluate the biological performance of restored wetlands including monitoring use by waterbirds and waterfowl.  We categorized study wetlands into three groups based on hydrologic modification and included WPA wetlands as a reference group. Specifically, we categorized restored wetlands as scrape only (least modification), scrape + ditch modification and scrape + water control structure (most modification). We randomly selected property owners (n = 37) and wetland basins within properties (n = 94) to observe and count all waterfowl and other waterbirds using these wetlands from April – May 2017. Wetlands ranged from 26.75 to 0.14 acres.  Greatest numbers of waterfowl occurred on WPA wetlands (mean = 6.30 waterfowl/survey) followed by wetlands with a scrape plus a ditch modification (mean = 3.63 waterfowl/survey).  Waterbird abundance was similar among wetland types except for those classified as scrape only, which had less use.  Restored wetland scrapes had the least average waterfowl (1.96 birds/survey) and waterbird abundance (0.17 birds/survey) and species richness (n = 10).  Among all wetlands we observed 13 species of waterfowl and 10 species of waterbirds.  Our preliminary results demonstrate substantial differences in abundance and community composition of waterfowl and waterbirds that used restored wetlands in the GHRA, at least during spring.  

Tuesday January 30, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am CST