By Published On: May 21, 2020

Maintaining Resiliency of Continental Waterbird Flyways

Waterbirds in the Intermountain West rely on a limited number of important wetland sites as they migrate hundreds of miles between breeding grounds in the north and wintering grounds in the south. This network of wetlands is vital for resting and refueling on these long journeys. What is more, these sites are also important centers of ecological diversity for both the migratory birds and other species of fish and wildlife.

In order to monitor changes in the resiliency of these networks, IWJV scientist Patrick Donnelly partnered with scientists from the University of Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program to look at surface water changes over 35 years in 26 key waterbird landscapes in the Intermountain West.

The resulting science produced maps that will allow biologists and land managers to determine if individual wetlands are becoming drier, wetter, or have remained unchanged. These maps are available to partners for watersheds associated with key regional, international, and hemispherically import waterbird sites in the Pacific Flyway.

Currently, maps are available for:

  • Summer Lake Basin
  • Harney Basin
  • Lake Abert
  • Tule Lake Basin
  • Goose Lake
  • Warner Valley
  • Alkali Lakes
  • Eagle Lake
  • Honey Lake
  • Pyramid Lake
  • Carson Sink
  • Walker Lake
  • Mono Lake
  • Owens Lake
  • Humboldt Sink
  • Ruby Valley
  • Great Salt Lake
  • Sevier Lake
  • Willcox Playa

Maps are available for download here.

Donnelly, J.P., King, S.L., Silverman, N.L., Collins, D.P., Carrera-Gonzalez, E.M., Lafón‐Terrazas, A., Moore, J.N. (2020). Climate and human water use diminish wetland networks supporting continental waterbird migration. Global Change Biology.