, Volume 279, Issue 1, pp 71–82 | Cite as

Wading bird use of established and newly created reactor cooling reservoirs at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina, USA

  • Keith L. Bildstein
  • Dale E. Gawlik
  • Dan P. Ferral
  • I. Lehr BrisbinJr
  • Gary R. Wein


We compared wading bird use of a newly created 405-ha reactor cooling reservoir (L-Lake) at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina, with that of two similar > 25-year-old reservoirs (1130-ha Par Pond and 87-ha Pond B) at the same site. L-Lake was constructed in 1984–1985 and filled in late 1985. Approximately 25% of the shoreline of L-Lake was planted with lacustrine vegetation in early 1987 in an attempt to speed the establishment of a self-sustaining balanced biological community (BBC) at the reservoir. Even so, during the course of our studies, L-Lake had considerably less wetland vegetation, especially floating-leaved species such as yellow nelumbo (Nelumbo lutea), than did either of the two older reservoirs.

Sixty-three surveys of the avian communities using the three reservoirs were conducted between fall of 1987 and summer of 1989. These surveys indicated that (1) at least seven species of wading birds (order: Ciconiiformes) used L-Lake, (2) wading bird density was higher at L-Lake than at the other two reservoirs, (3) wading birds represented a higher proportion of the total avian community at L-Lake than at the other two, older reservoirs, and (4) wading birds at L-Lake used planted portions of the shoreline more than unplanted portions. We suggest that the inter-reservoir differences we observed represent a ‘trophic upsurge’ (sensu O'Brien, 1990) resulting from the increased availability of fishes at L-Lake compared with the two older reservoirs.

Key words

Wading birds Ciconiiformes reservoirs lacustrine vegetation wetland vegetation macrophytes standing dead timber fishes predator-prey interactions 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith L. Bildstein
    • 1
  • Dale E. Gawlik
    • 1
  • Dan P. Ferral
    • 1
  • I. Lehr BrisbinJr
    • 2
  • Gary R. Wein
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWinthrop CollegeRock HillUSA
  2. 2.Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryAikenUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyMemphis State UniversityMemphisUSA

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