Wetlands

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 919–929

Vegetative Forage Quality and Moist-soil Management on Wetlands Reserve Program Lands in Mississippi

  • K. Sarah Fleming
  • Richard M. Kaminski
  • Todd E. Tietjen
  • Michael L. Schummer
  • Gary N. Ervin
  • Kevin D. Nelms
Article

Abstract

The Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) prescribes management of vegetation in moist-soil wetlands for waterfowl and other wildlife. This study used a block design on 18 sites in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) in Mississippi to evaluate effectiveness of management prescriptions. Objectives were to determine appropriate timing of vegetation surveys and whether vegetation community metrics on private lands differed among management strategies (2008–2009): 1) active (e.g., annual soil disturbance), early drawdown of standing water (i.e., by 15 June), 2) active, late drawdown (≥3 weeks after early drawdown), and 3) passive, natural evaporation. A Vegetative Forage Quality Index (VFQI) was developed to assess quality of plant communities as forage for waterfowl. The study examined VFQI, plant community diversity and richness, percent (%) occurrence of grass, % woody species, and mean number of plant life-forms among management categories (α = 0.10). Plant community metrics were measured June–October but only October metrics revealed differences in both years (p ≤ 0.09). Active-early had the greatest VFQI, diversity, mean number of plant life-forms, and percent abundance of grasses in October 2008 and 2009 (p ≤ 0.07). Results suggest that quality forage for waterfowl may be achieved through active management with early draw-down.

Keywords

Management Moist-soil wetland Vegetative Forage Quality Index Waterfowl Wetlands Reserve Program 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Sarah Fleming
    • 1
    • 5
  • Richard M. Kaminski
    • 1
  • Todd E. Tietjen
    • 2
  • Michael L. Schummer
    • 1
    • 6
  • Gary N. Ervin
    • 3
  • Kevin D. Nelms
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and AquacultureMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  2. 2.Southern Nevada Water AuthorityLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  4. 4.Natural Resource Conservation ServiceGreenwoodUSA
  5. 5.Ducks Unlimited, Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional OfficeAnn ArborUSA
  6. 6.Long Point WaterfowlPort RowanCanada

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