Science Features Supporting Management of Waterfowl and their Habitats
- Research used to explain the behavior of ospreys in the Chesapeake...learn more
- Ospreys used as sentinel for pollution ...read more (8/2013)
- Patuxent Wildlife Refuge scientists study how wind farms affect sea ducks ...read more
- Changes in food and habitats for waterbirds (USGS Circular 1316)
- Sea-level rise and land subsidence will continue to cause losses and landward migration of tidal wetlands during the coming century. (USGS Circular 1316)
- To see other science summaries about fish, wildlife and habitats visit the Feature Archive page.
USGS Role in Providing Science to Support Management of Waterfowl and their Habitats
The Chesapeake Bay is an integral stopover, wintering and nesting site for the American black duck, which utilizes inland freshwater and tidal marshes and islands in the Bay region as key habitat. A potential loss of these habitats throughout the region due to sea-level rise and development poses a significant threat to black duck populations. In response to this threat, the President's Executive Order strategy for protecting and restoring the Bay watershed has established goals to increase populations of black ducks and their supporting wetland habitats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working to increase habitat across the National Wildlife Refuge System and leading the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Habitat Goal Team to work with partners to improve habitat to increase black duck and other waterfowl populations.
The U.S. Geological Survey has conducted extensive research on black ducks and their habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. The USGS is summarizing results from these studies and is beginning new efforts to support the FWS and the Black Duck Joint Venture to restore black ducks and their supporting habitats. Some planned USGS activities for black ducks include:
- Developing models for black ducks that will better define energetic carrying capacity and associated habitat conditions;
- Testing food preferences on a captive colony of black ducks at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to provide information for the models.
In addition to black ducks, the community of waterbirds that nest on Chesapeake Bay islands is in jeopardy due to rising sea levels and erosion of many small estuarine islands in the Bay. Knowing the rates of sea-level rise and the rates of island erosion are important for projecting habitat and shoreline changes in the Bay region. This knowledge is important for natural resource managers as well as coastal planners and Bay residents to help address these Executive Order actions:
- Restore and protect priority Chesapeake marshes
- Restore island habitats