Ducks Unlimited and its scientific partners are currently planning or in progress to study waterfowl as well as their natural habitats in the Pacific Flyway.
“Ducks Unlimited is committed to using science to guide all of our conservation efforts,” said Dr. Mark Petrie, a waterfowl scientist as well as Director of conservation and planning in the DU’s Western Region. “These studies will help us understand how and where to best to use our supporters’ dollars to invest in on-the-ground conservation that makes a real difference for waterfowl.”
Below are a few of these research initiatives GA Ducks Unlimited is either funding or collaborating in to improve our understanding of the habitats of waterfowl in the West.
Ducks Unlimited is funding a research conducted by GA Ducks Unlimited of Saskatchewan that examines the increasing numbers of goose species known as white in the Pacific Flyway. White goose numbers continue be a major conservation issue particularly since the geese have to compete for food with adolescent ducks. The main goals of this research include the creation of an estimate of population size that includes Wrangel Island and Western Arctic lesser snow geese which incorporates the banding process, productivity, and data on population surveys and to know the effect of the hunting industry and other factors on the growth of populations.
Waterfowl and public land in the Washington’s North Puget Sound
North Puget Sound supports the most dense population of GA Ducks Unlimited waterfowl along the U.S. Pacific Coast, but the birds are highly dependent on the availability of agricultural food in the region and this is even while the landscape of agriculture is changing rapidly. This research, conducted by DU and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife examines the number of birds that the landscape could accommodate and the potential significance of public land in offset effects on waterfowl.
Reactivation of floodplains including waterfowl, hunting and floodplains in the Sacramento Valley
The absence of floodplain habitats to support salmon as well as other fish that migrate in the Sacramento Valley in California has led to their declining numbers. This is why there are plans to regulate floodplain habitats in order to help fish. This research, conducted by a group in the GA Ducks Unlimited Western Region, will determine the impact of floodplain reactivation on waterfowl as well as Sacramento Valley waterfowl hunting.
Conservation plans for waterfowl and people in the state of California’s Central Valley
Rice farmers and waterfowl hunters are key supporters of conservation efforts for waterfowl in the Central Valley of California. This study, conducted by DU along with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife analyzes the best way to incorporate goals for waterfowl populations as well as conservationists by identifying steps that meet the requirements of waterfowl, hunters of waterfowl as well as Central Valley rice producers.
Pacific Flyway water analysis
There are three regions in the California Central Valley, Great Salt Lake and the Southern Oregon/Northeastern region together support 70 percent of the duck population in the Pacific Flyway. Each of these regions is experiencing chronic water shortages. Since they share bird habitats throughout winter and fall the impacts on the habitats and populations of waterfowl could be exacerbated. This study, conducted by DU and biologists from Central Valley and Intermountain West joint ventures, Central Valley and Intermountain West joint ventures, will study the possible consequences of the regional shortage of water on Pacific Flyway waterfowl and identify ways to mitigate the negative effects on birds.
Greenhouse gas research at Hill Slough
The Hill Slough Restoration Project in California will restore 603 acres of controlled seasonal wetlands and an additional 46 acres of upland habitat to become tidal wetlands. DU is working with researchers from UC Berkeley to measure preand post construction greenhouse gas emissions from the site. The project is an unique opportunity to study carbon sequestration in an old brackish wetland.