Article

Wetlands

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 84-89

First online:

Waterfowl management on grass-sage stock ponds

  • Dan SvingenAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Wyoming
  • , Stanley H. AndersonAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Wyoming

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Abstract

We studied waterfowl use of grass-sage stock ponds in north-central Wyoming during the 1988 and 1989 breeding seasons. Dabbling ducks, particularly mallards, were the most common breeders. Indicated breeding pair density averaged 2.7 pairs/ha of wetland surface, while brood density averaged 1.0 brood/ha of wetland surface. Waterfowl use and productivity were greatest on large (> 3 ha), clear, deep ponds with grass shorelines and abundant submergent macrophytes. Pair use was positively correlated with water clarity, pond area, and macroinvertebrate diversity. Brood use was related to macroinvertebrate diversity, pond depth, and Shoreline Development Index. We recommend management priority be given to ponds that are deeper than 1 m to provide more water that is clear so macrophytes can be established. Macroivertebrates should be artificially introduced into ponds. Fencing should be used to improve ponds for waterfowl use and brood rearing.

Key Words

waterfowl stock ponds grass-sage aquatic macroinvertebrates breeding ducks broods