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Accession Number 5004714

Title Food production and avian use of moist-soil impoundments in the Mississippi Alluvial

Valley

Project Description Moist-soil management is a wetland management technique that uses manipulation of water

levels and periodic vegetation disturbance to provide food and other habitat resources for birds in

seasonally flooded herbaceous wetlands. Moist-soil management is an important alternative to

crop production as a means of providing foraging habitat for waterfowl. More than 300

impoundments currently are managed to provide 20-25,000 acres of moist-soil habitat on state

and federal wildlife areas in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and the success of public lands in

meeting waterfowl habitat objectives of the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture depends

critically on effective management of these sites. Unique among moist-soil impoundments are

50-100 former catfish production ponds that are especially suited to wetland management

because each 10- to 20-acre unit can be drained and flooded independently. These impoundments

also are suited to development and evaluation of management practices because individual units

are relatively uniform, the number of ponds is adequate to allow replication of management

treatments, and evaluation can occur at the same scale that management practices are applied.

Biological planning models used by the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture to determine

regional waterfowl and shorebird habitat objectives are driven by estimates of food requirements

and availability. These energetic models are based on limited data and assume that moist-soil

habitats produce an average of 400 lbs/ac of seeds for wintering waterfowl and 2 g/square-meter of

aquatic invertebrates for migrating shorebirds. Objectives of this study will be to: (1) evaluate

double sampling for stratification as a strategy for estimating food production in moist-soil

impoundments; (2) estimate availability of moist-soil seeds to wintering ducks and invertebrates to

migrating shorebirds in catfish ponds managed as moist-soil impoundments; and (3) determine if

use by wintering ducks and migrating shorebirds is proportional to food availability and consistent

with use-days expected in biological planning models.

Keywords food availability, food resources, moist-soil management, sampling, shorebirds,

Principal Kenneth J Reinecke, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: ken_reinecke@usgs.gov; Jack W

Investigators Grubaugh, University of Memphis: grubaugh@memphis.edu; Kevin M Hartke, USGS Patuxent

Wildlife Research Center: kmhartke@usgs.gov;

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