Wetland restoration in highly modified landscapes involves balancing target ecosystem functions and values with constraints of landscape and stakeholder context. Often, a restored wetland complex cannot meet all target conditions simultaneously, and tradeoffs must be understood, evaluated, and quantified. We examined the tradeoff between providing migratory bird sanctuary and increasing public recreational opportunities within a restored floodplain wetland complex along the Illinois River. We surveyed the distribution and behavior of waterbirds in response to a gradient of spatial and temporal disturbances from waterbird hunting activities. Using ArcMap and spatial interpolation of waterbird densities as a novel approach to quantify sanctuary area, we estimated that approximately 42% of Emiquon Preserve functioned as sanctuary across disturbance intensities, hunter distribution, and time periods during autumn migration. Waterbird abundance did not increase with short-term temporal sanctuary or decreased hunting intensity. Disturbance distance around hunting locations was 752.1 m, overall, and increased 38.4 m for each additional hunting party. Exclusion distance around hunting locations was greater in areas with greater mean disturbance frequency. We question the effectiveness of short-term temporal sanctuary for waterbirds at the expense of recreational opportunities and advocate our analytical approach to quantify sanctuary area and disturbance buffers without experimentally causing disturbances.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ackerman, J. T., J. T. Takekawa, K. L. Kruse, D. L. Orthmeyer, J. L. Yee, C. R. Ely, D. H. Ward, K. S. Bollinger & D. M. Mulcahy, 2004. Using radio telemetry to monitor cardiac response of free-living tule greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons elgasi) to human disturbance. Wilson Bulletin 116: 146–151.
Beatty, W. S., E. B. Webb, D. C. Kesler, A. H. Raedeke, L. W. Naylor & D. D. Humburg, 2014. Landscape effects on mallard habitat selection at multiple spatial scales during the non-breeding period. Landscape Ecology 29: 989–1000.
Belanger, L. & J. Bedard, 1995. Hunting and waterfowl. In Knight, R. L. & K. Gutzwiller (eds), Wildlife and Recreationists: Coexistence through Management and Research. Island Press, Washington, D.C.: 243–256.
Bellrose, F. C., 1954. The value of waterfowl refuges in Illinois. Journal of Wildlife Management 18: 160–169.
Bellrose, F. C. & T. D. Crompton, 1970. Migrational behavior of mallards and black ducks as determined from banding. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 30: 167–234.
Blumstein, D. T., L. L. Anthony, R. Harcourt & G. Ross, 2003. Testing a key assumption of wildlife buffer zones: is flight initiation distance a species-specific trait? Biological Conservation 110: 97–100.
Blumstein, D. T., E. Fernandez-Juricic, P. A. Zollner & S. C. Garity, 2005. Inter-specific variation in avian responses to human disturbances. Journal of Applied Ecology 42: 943–953.
Bregnballe, T. & J. Madsen, 2004. Tools in waterfowl reserve management: effects of intermittent hunting adjacent to a shooting-free core area. Wildlife Biology 10: 261–268.
Burger, J. & M. Gochfeld, 1991. Human activity influence and diurnal and nocturnal foraging of Sanderlings (Calidris alba). The Condor 93: 259–265.
Casazza, M. L., P. S. Coates, M. R. Miller, C. T. Overton & D. R. Yparraguirre, 2012. Hunting influences the diel patterns in habitat selection by northern pintails Anas acuta. Wildlife Biology 18(1): 1–13.
Cooper, C., L. Larson, A. Dayer, R. Stedman & D. Decker, 2015. Are wildlife recreationists conservationists? Linking hunting, birdwatching, and pro-environmental behavior. The Journal of Wildlife Management 79: 446–457.
Cox Jr, R. R. & A. D. Afton, 1997. Evening flights of female northern pintails from a major roost site. The Condor 98: 810–819.
Davis, B. E., A. D. Afton & R. R. Cox Jr, 2009. Habitat use by female mallards in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Journal of Wildlife Management 73: 701–709.
Dill, L. M. & R. Houtman, 1989. The influence of distance to refuge on flight initiation distance in the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Canadian Journal of Zoology 67: 233–235.
Dooley, J. L., T. A. Sanders & P. F. Dohert, 2010. Mallard response to experimental walk-in and shooting disturbance. Journal of Wildlife Management 74: 1815–1824.
Elphick, C. S., 2008. Landscape effects on waterbird densities in California rice fields: taxonomic differences, scale-dependence, and conservation implications. Waterbirds 31: 62–69.
Evans, D. M. & K. R. Day, 2002. Hunting disturbance on a large shallow lake: the effectiveness of waterfowl refuges. Ibis 144: 2–8.
Fernandez-Juricic, E., P. Venier, D. Renison & D. T. Blumstein, 2005. Sensitivity of wildlife to spatial patterns of recreationist behavior: a critical assessment of minimum approaching distances and buffer areas for grassland birds. Biological Conservation 125: 225–235.
Fox, A. D. & J. Madsen, 1997. Behavioral and distributional effects of hunting disturbance on waterbirds in Europe: implications for refuge design. Journal of Applied Ecology 34: 1–13.
Gill, J. A., W. J. Sutherland & A. R. Watkinson, 1996. A method to quantify the effects of human disturbance on animal populations. Journal of Animal Ecology 33: 786–792.
Glover, H. K., M. A. Weston, G. S. Maguire, K. K. Miller & B. A. Christie, 2011. Towards ecologically meaningful and socially acceptable buffer: response distances of shorebirds in Victoria, Australia, to human disturbance. Landscape and Urban Planning 103: 326–334.
Goss-Custard, J. D., P. Triplet, F. Sueur & A. D. West, 2006. Critical thresholds of disturbance by raptors and people in foraging wading birds. Biological Conservation 127: 88–97.
Gray, M. J., H. M. Hagy, J. A. Nyman & J. D. Stafford, 2013. Management of wetlands for wildlife. In Davis, C. A. & J. T. Anderson (eds), Wetland Techniques: Vol. 3: Applications and Management. Springer, Dodrecht: 121–180.
Hagy, H. M., A. P. Yetter, K. W. Stodola, M. M. Horath, C. S. Hine, M. P. Ward, T. J. Benson, R. V. Smith & J. D. Stafford, 2014. Stopover duration of mallards during autumn in the Illinois River valley. Journal of Wildlife Management 78: 747–752.
Hagy, H. M., C. S. Hine, M. M. Horath, A. P. Yetter, R. V. Smith & J. D. Stafford, 2016. Waterbirds as indicators of floodplain wetland Restoration. Hydrobiologia (in Review).
Havera, S. P., 1999. Waterfowl of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication 21, Champaign, Illinois: 628 pp.
Havera, S. P., L. R. Boens, M. M. Georgi & R. T. Shealy, 1992. Human disturbance of waterfowl on Keokuk Pool, Mississippi River. Wildlife Society Bulletin 20: 290–298.
Hine, C. S., H. M. Hagy, A. P. Yetter, M. M. Horath, R. V. Smith & J. D. Stafford, 2013. Waterbird and wetland monitoring at the Emiquon Preserve: Final Report 2007–2013. INHS Technical Report 2013 (20).
Jessop, J. E., 2014. Tradeoffs among ecosystem services in restored wetlands. Thesis. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Joensen, A. H. & J. Madsen, 1985. Waterfowl and raptors wintering in wetlands of western Greece, 1983–85. Natura Jutlandica 21: 169–200.
Johnson, M. D., 2007. Measuring habitat quality: a review. The Condor 109: 489–504.
Klein, M. L., 1993. Waterbird behavioral responses to human disturbances. Wildlife Society Bulletin 21: 31–39.
Knight, R. L. & K. J. Gutzwiller (eds), 1995. Wildlife and Recreationists: Coexistence Through Management and Research. Island Press, Washington, D.C.: 372 pp.
Knight, R. L. & S. A. Temple, 1995. Wildlife and recreationists: coexistence through management. In Knight, R. L. & K. J. Gutzwiller (eds), Wildlife and Recreationists: Coexistence Through Management and Research. Island Press, Washington, D.C.: 327–333.
Lancaster, J. D., J. B. Davis, R. M. Kaminski, A. D. Afton & E. J. Penny, 2015. Mallard use of a managed public hunting area. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 2: 281–287.
Laundré, J. W., L. Hernandez & W. J. Ripple, 2010. Landscape of fear: ecological implication of being afraid. The Open Ecology Journal 3: 1–7.
Madsen, J., 1995. Impacts of disturbance on migratory waterfowl. Ibis 137(s1): 67–74.
Madsen, J., 1998a. Experimental refuges for migratory waterfowl in Danish wetlands I: baseline assessment of the disturbance effects of recreational activities. Journal of Applied Ecology 35: 386–397.
Madsen, J., 1998b. Experimental refuges for migratory waterfowl in Danish wetlands II: tests of hunting disturbance effects. Journal of Applied Ecology 35: 398–417.
Migoya, R., G. A. Baldassarre & M. P. Losito, 1994. Diurnal activity budgets and habitat functions of northern pintail wintering in Sinaloa, Mexico. Wildfowl 45: 134–146.
Miller, M. R., R. J. Fleskes, D. L. Orthmeyer, W. E. Newton & D. S. Gilmer, 1995. Survival of adult female northern pintails in Sacramento Valley, California. Journal of Wildlife Management 9: 478–486.
Nolet, B. A., R. M. Bevan, M. Klaassen, O. Langvoord & Y. G. J. T. van der Heijden, 2002. Habitat switching by Bewick’s swans: maximization of average long-term energy gain. Journal of Animal Ecology 71: 979–993.
O’Neal, B. J., J. D. Stafford & R. P. Larkin, 2012. Stopover duration of fall-migrating dabbling ducks. Journal of Wildlife Management 76: 285–293.
O’Neal, B. J., J. D. Stafford & R. P. Larkin, 2014. Migrating ducks in inland North America ignore major rivers as leading lines. Ibis 157: 154–161.
Parrish, J. D., D. P. Braun & R. S. Unnasch, 2003. Are we conserving what we say we are? Measuring ecological integrity within protected areas. BioScience 53: 851–860.
Pearse, A. T., S. J. Dinsmore, R. M. Kaminski & K. J. Reinecke, 2007. Evaluation of an aerial survey to estimate abundance of wintering ducks in Mississippi. Journal of Wildlife Management 72: 1413–1419.
Pearse, A. T., R. M. Kaminski, K. J. Reinecke & S. J. Dinsmore, 2012. Local and landscape associations between wintering dabbling ducks and wetland complexes in Mississippi. Wetlands 32: 859–869.
Pease, M. L., R. K. Rose & M. J. Butler, 2005. Effects of human disturbances on the behavior of wintering ducks. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33: 103–112.
Richardson, C. T. & C. K. Miller, 1997. Recommendations for protecting raptors from human disturbance: a review. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25: 634–638.
Robinson, J. A. & P. A. Cranswick, 2003. Large-scale monitoring of the effects of human disturbance on waterbirds: a review and recommendations for survey design. Ornis Hungarica 12: 199–207.
Rodgers Jr, J. A. & S. T. Schwikert, 2002. Buffer-zone distances to protect foraging and loafing waterbirds from disturbance by personal watercraft and outboard-powered boats. Conservation Biology 16: 216–224.
Rodgers Jr., J. A. & H. Smith, 1995. Set-back distances to protect nesting bird colonies from human disturbance in Florida. Conservation Biology 9: 89–99.
Rodgers Jr., J. A. & H. Smith, 1997. Buffer zone distances to protect foraging and loafing waterbirds from human disturbance in Florida. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25: 139–145.
Ruiz-Jaen, M. C. & T. M. Aide, 2005. Restoration success: how is it being measured? Ecology 13: 569–577.
Schummer, M. L., R. M. Kaminski, A. H. Raedeke & D. A. Graber, 2010. Weather-related indices of autumn-winter dabbling duck abundance in middle North America. Journal of Wildlife Management 74: 94–101.
Sedinger, J. S. & M. P. Herzog, 2012. Harvest and dynamics of duck populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 76: 1108–1116.
Sokos, C. K., P. K. Birtsas, J. W. Connelly & K. G. Papaspyropaulos, 2013. Hunting migratory birds: hunting intolerant or harvest tolerant? Wildlife Biology 19: 113–125.
St. James, E. A., M. L. Schummer, R. M. Kaminski, E. J. Penny & L. W. Burger, 2013. Effect of weekly hunting frequency on duck abundances in Mississippi Wildlife Management Areas. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 4: 144–150.
Stafford, J. D., A. T. Pearse, C. S. Hine, A. P. Yetter & M. M. Horath, 2007. Factors associated with hunter success for ducks on state-owned lands in Illinois, USA. Wildlife Biology 16: 113–122.
Stafford, J. D., M. M. Horath, A. P. Yetter, C. S. Hine & S. P. Havera, 2010. Wetland use by mallards during spring and fall in the Illinois and Central Mississippi River Valleys. Waterbirds 30: 394–402.
Unnasch, R. S., D. P. Braun, P. J. Comer & G. E. Eckert, 2008. The ecological integrity assessment framework: a framework for assessing the ecological integrity of biological and ecological resources of the National Park System. Report to the National Park Service, Ft. Collins, CO.
van Gils, J. A., I. W. Schenk, O. Bos & T. Piersma, 2003. Incompletely informed shorebirds that face a digestive constraint maximize net energy gain when exploiting patches. American Naturalist 161: 777–793.
van Gils, J. A., P. Edelarr, G. Escudero & T. Piersma, 2004. Carrying capacity models should not use fixed prey density thresholds: a plea for using more tools of behavioral ecology. Oikos 104: 197–204.
Yetter, A. P., M. M. Horath, C. S. Hine, R. S. Smith & J. D. Stafford, 2011. Illinois waterfowl surveys and investigations: final report. Illinois Natural History Survey Technical Report 2011 (41).
Zedler, J. B. & M. K. Leach, 1998. Managing urban wetlands for multiple use: research, restoration, and recreation. Urban Ecosystems 2: 189–204.
We thank D. Blodgett, J. Walk, J. Beverlin, M. Lemke, T. Hobson, and others at The Nature Conservancy for supporting this project and allowing access to Emiquon Preserve. We thank M. Cruce of Cruce Aviation for providing flight service for this project. We thank several anonymous reviewers and guest editors M. Lemke, M. Lemke, and J. Walk for their helpful suggestions which have improved this manuscript. We are grateful to The Nature Conservancy and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration program for providing funding.
Guest editors: Michael J. Lemke, A. Maria Lemke & Jeffery W. Walk / Large-Scale Floodplain Restoration in the Illinois River Valley
About this article
Cite this article
Hagy, H.M., Horath, M.M., Yetter, A.P. et al. Evaluating tradeoffs between sanctuary for migrating waterbirds and recreational opportunities in a restored wetland complex. Hydrobiologia 804, 103–118 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-016-2711-0