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Use of Moist-Soil Management for Waterfowl on the Texas Coast

Mike Whitson M.S. Student
Stephen F. Austin State University

Project Supervisors:
Dr. Warren Conway
Dr. David Haukos

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey

Texas Chenier Plain NWR Complex
Dr. Dan Collins
Patrick Walther

Anahuac NWR

Completion: May 2015

Status: On-going

Representation of the subunits for the Middleton Moist-Soil Management Unit on Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

Assess biomass production in response to moist-soil management treatments
Determine species response to moist-soil management treatments
Measure waterfowl response to moist-soil management on the upper Texas Gulf Coast

Progress and Results:
The overriding goal for this research is to quantify variation in vegetation species response, biomass production, invertebrate availability and waterfowl use as related to early, mid and late flooding dates in moist soil managed fallow rice fields on the upper Texas coast. This research will provide federal, state, private land managers and conservation agencies with viable wetland management techniques to enhance habit conditions, wetland mitigation, and assist in reducing migratory waterfowl and residential mottled duck populations to exposure of areas with high lead contamination. Specific objectives include estimate existing seed bank composition and variation in biomass production, seed production, above ground plant community composition in areas under varying temporal implementation regimes and treatment conditions. We will also determine, compare and characterize bird use and behavior among treatments to estimate moist soil management practices that drive waterfowl habitat selection and use.

Whitson, M., W. Conway, C. Comer, and J. Moon. 2013. Vegetation and waterfowl response to temporal inundation variation in moist-soil managed fallow rice fields on the upper Texas Coast. Annual Meeting of The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Houston, Texas. Poster.