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Tuesday, January 30 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
SYMPOSIA-08: Mallard Use of Incentivized Conservation Program Wetlands During Winter in Mississippi

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AUTHORS. Joseph D. Lancaster, Illinois Natural History Survey, Forbes Biological Station, Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; J. Brian Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture, Mississippi State University; Richard. M. Kaminski, James C. Kennedy Waterfowl & Wetlands Conservation Center, Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, Clemson University

ABSTRACT. Despite significant wetland loss and transformation, the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) remains a continentally important region for wintering mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and other waterfowl. Targeted management on private lands is vital to satisfying regional waterfowl habitat goals, because 90% of the MAV is privately owned. Whether through targeted objectives or side effect of soil and water conservation initiatives, myriad federal, state, and private-sector programs expand waterfowl habitat on private lands through landowner incentives. Incentivized wetland programs are embraced for benefiting waterfowl, but little information exists on waterfowl use of these wetlands in the MAV. We hypothesized that incentivized wetlands are a significant wetland source for female mallards, especially after hunting season when other wetlands are dewatered. We radio-marked 241 female mallards in the MAV of Mississippi in winters 2010-2015 and collected 9,229 locations to examine mallard use of incentivized wetlands representing seven conservation programs, private wetlands managed outside of a program, and public wetlands. We used Dirichlet regression to explore variation in wetland use during and post hunting season and between diurnal and nocturnal periods. Use of incentivized wetlands ranged from 16-35% and females used these wetlands 33.2% (CI95 = 8.0 – 64.3%) more post-hunting season. Incentivized wetlands were used 10.6% (-16.3 – 46.2%) more diurnally than nocturnally post-hunting season, but 19.0% (-18.6 – 73.9%) more nocturnally than diurnally during hunting season. Public wetlands were used more than incentivized wetlands diurnally during hunting season, but similarly otherwise. Although variable, private wetlands managed outside of a program were generally used more than incentivized wetlands, but never less. Programs, such as the Wetlands Reserve Program, that retire cropland and restore native vegetation and hydrology were most used among the seven incentivized conservation programs. Hunting may decrease mallard use of incentivized wetlands diurnally, but incentivized wetlands are an important wetland source post-hunting season.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 2:20pm - 2:40pm CST