Waterfowl In the Intermountain West
Waterfowl populations in the Intermountain West (IW) are inextricably linked to the region’s scarce and fluctuating wetland environments. The IWJV contains 8 areas of continental significance that are recognized in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, including the Klamath Basin, Malheur Basin, Carson Sink, Ruby Lake, Great Salt Lake and marshes, Yellowstone-Intermountain region, Columbia Basin, and Bitterroot Intermountain. Basin, marshes and wetlands are of higher value to waterfowl than are many areas in wetter regions; the very rarity of marshes in a dry region adds to their inherent value.
While these wetlands provide critical habitat during the entire annual cycle of waterfowl—breeding, migration, and wintering—the IWJV Science Team is currently focused on establishing habitat objectives for non-breeding waterfowl (wintering and migrating), largely because the bulk of available data makes it possible to pursue our modeling with confidence (on the flipside, information gaps prohibit meaningful analyses for breeding habitat objectives).
Recently, the Joint Venture used the TRUEMET bioenergetic models to establish conservation habitat objectives for non-breeding waterfowl in both SONEC and Great Salt Lake ecosystems and work is underway for the Columbia Basin.
TRUEMET modeling allows us to estimate waterfowl habitat requirements by comparing food energy needs to food energy supplies, thus establishing scientifically defensible habitat objectives.
Stay tuned. Results from IWJV’s biological planning studies will be rolled out over the next few years.
North American Waterfowl Management Program (NAWMP) is an international agreement developed in 1986 (and updated thereafter) that recognizes the recovery and perpetuation of waterfowl and other wetland wildlife that depend on the restoration of wetlands and associated ecosystems throughout North America. It established Joint Ventures as cooperative initiatives with a role of coordinating and producing step-down plans designed to reverse declines in wetland habitats and associated wildlife. Click here for NAWMP planning documents.