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Evaluation of wetland development and waterbird response at Elk Creek Wildlife management area, Lake Mills, Iowa, 1961 to 1990

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Abstract

A waterfowl habitat development project along 7.5 miles (12.07 km) of stream was evaluated after 27 years. There was a modest 12% net increase in wetlands in impounded areas, but much of the wetland vegetation changed from seasonally flooded, nonpersistent and persistent emergents to shallow, open-water areas. An unimpounded, downstream reference area had drier plant communities, probably resulting from reduced flooding. The loss of shallow vegetated wetlands could have significant impacts on both water quality functions and waterbird populations. The overall project goal of increasing numbers and diversity of waterfowl was met, but waterfowl numbers and species composition changed more because of transplanting and nest-box programs than habitat modifications. Although impacts on birds of shallow wetlands such as rails and songbirds were not quantitatively assessed, it is likely that the numbers of such birds were reduced because their preferred habitats were reduced markedly. Use of smaller lateral impoundments and increased management for emergents would diversity waterbird populations and increase dabbling duck production.

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Weller, M.W., Kaufmann, G.W. & Vohs, P.A. Evaluation of wetland development and waterbird response at Elk Creek Wildlife management area, Lake Mills, Iowa, 1961 to 1990. Wetlands 11, 245–262 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03160852

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03160852

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