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Wetlands

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 1057–1066 | Cite as

Implications of Coastal Wetland Management to Nonbreeding Waterbirds in Texas

  • Owen N. Fitzsimmons
  • Bart M. BallardEmail author
  • M. Todd Merendino
  • Guy A. Baldassarre
  • Kevin M. Hartke
Article

Abstract

Texas coastal marshes have declined in number and quality, prompting the widespread use of levees and water control structures to create or enhance coastal marsh habitat. In particular, management techniques that control water to provide fresh (<0.5 ppt) and intermediate (0.5–5 ppt) marsh in a landscape dominated by brackish and saline marsh. However, research is needed to assess the effectiveness of these techniques in providing waterbird habitat. During 2007–09 along the central Texas Coast, we investigated the effects of marsh management on bird, plant, and aquatic invertebrate communities by comparing leveed areas within the coastal marsh that received water level and mechanical management, to adjacent nonmanaged marsh that received no hydrologic or mechanical manipulations. Managed marshes supported more bird species, greater waterbird densities, greater plant diversity, and greater aquatic invertebrate biomass than nonmanaged sites. However, nonmanaged wetlands supported greater densities and more species of secretive marsh birds (e.g., rails). Management of coastal marsh that reduces water salinities and suppresses plant succession appears to be a possible way to mitigate the effects of declines in fresh and intermediate marsh on nonbreeding waterbirds.

Keywords

Aquatic invertebrates Marsh management Texas Coast Waterbirds 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank M. Nelson, D. Butler, and L. Alford from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for their assistance with logistics regarding our study sites. We also thank A. Tjelmeland for assistance with avian surveys. Funding was provided by the Jess Y. Womack, II Fellowship in Wetlands and Wetland Bird Research, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. We thank A. Fedynich and D. Hewitt and 2 anonymous reviewers for comments that improved this manuscript. This is manuscript #11-119 of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

Supplementary material

13157_2012_336_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (14 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 14 kb)
13157_2012_336_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (20 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 19 kb)

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Owen N. Fitzsimmons
    • 1
    • 5
  • Bart M. Ballard
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Todd Merendino
    • 2
  • Guy A. Baldassarre
    • 3
  • Kevin M. Hartke
    • 4
  1. 1.Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research InstituteTexas A&M University-KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Ducks Unlimited, Inc.RichmondUSA
  3. 3.State University of New YorkSyracuseUSA
  4. 4.Texas Parks and Wildlife DepartmentRichmondUSA
  5. 5.Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries ProgramCorpus ChristiUSA

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