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Migratory Bird Habitat in Relation to Tile Drainage and Poorly Drained Hydrologic Soil Groups

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2016 10th International Drainage Symposium Conference, 6-9 September 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota  .(doi:10.13031/IDS.20162493338)
Authors:   Brandi J. Kastner, Victoria G. Christensen, Tanja N. Williamson, Christopher A. Sanocki
Keywords:   Wetlands, Agricultural Drainage, Hydrologic Soil Groups, Prairie Pothole Region, USGS GAP.

Abstract. The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is home to more than 50% of the migratory waterfowl in North America. Although the PPR provides an abundance of temporary and permanent wetlands for nesting and feeding, increases in commodity prices and agricultural drainage practices have led to a trend of wetland drainage. The Northern Shoveler is a migratory dabbling duck species that uses wetland habitats and cultivated croplands in the PPR. Richland County in North Dakota and Roberts County in South Dakota have an abundance of wetlands and croplands and were chosen as the study areas for this research to assess the wetland size and cultivated cropland in relation to hydrologic soil groups for the Northern Shoveler habitat. This study used geographic information system data to analyze Northern Shoveler habitats in association with Natural Resource Conservation Service soil data. Habitats, which are spatially associated with certain hydrologic soil groups, may be at risk of artificial drainage installations because of their proximity to cultivated croplands and soil lacking in natural drainage that may become wet or inundated. Findings indicate that most wetlands that are part of Northern Shoveler habitats were within or adjacent to cultivated croplands. The results also revealed soil hydrologic groups with high runoff potential and low water transmission rates account for most of the soil within the Northern Shoveler‘s wetland and cropland habitats. Habitats near agriculture with high runoff potential are likely to be drained and this has the potential of reducing Northern Shoveler habitat.

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