Effects of surface water depletion groundwater withdrawal on arizona s riparian bird communities
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Effects of Surface Water Depletion & Groundwater Withdrawal on Arizona’s Riparian Bird Communities. Chris Kirkpatrick & Courtney J. Conway School of Natural Resources University of Arizona. Outline of Presentation.

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Effects of surface water depletion groundwater withdrawal on arizona s riparian bird communities
Effects of SurfaceWater Depletion & Groundwater Withdrawal on Arizona’s Riparian Bird Communities

Chris Kirkpatrick & Courtney J. Conway

School of Natural Resources

University of Arizona


Outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation

  • Overview of objectives and methods of long-term research project initiated in 2006

  • Preliminary results from first field season (data from Rincon Creek and Cienega Creek study sites only)


Arizona s riparian woodlands
Arizona’s Riparian Woodlands

  • Cover <1% of the State’s landmass

  • Support >50% of breeding bird species, including birds of conservation concern:

    Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

    Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo


Riparian bird species
Riparian Bird Species

Yellow Warbler

Summer Tanager

Abert’s Towhee


Riparian bird species1
Riparian Bird Species

Yellow-breasted Chat

Bell’s Vireo

Gray Hawk


Threats to riparian woodlands

?

loss of groundwater

loss of surface water

riparian birds

loss of riparian vegetation

?

Threats to Riparian Woodlands

  • Reduction in groundwater levels considered to be one of the greatest threats to low-elevation riparian woodlands in Arizona


Study objectives
Study Objectives

  • Understand connections between groundwater, surface water, and the health of riparian bird communities in Arizona

  • Examine underlying ecological processes (e.g., availability of food resources) that may influence these connections


Study objectives1
Study Objectives

  • Develop a model to predict how abundance, diversity, and breeding success of riparian birds will be affected by future changes in ground and surface water levels



17 Replicate Riparian Study Sites

1) Arivaca Creek

2) Santa Cruz River

3) Brown Creek

4) Upper Hot Springs Creek

5) Lower Hot Springs Creek

6) Aravaipa Creek

7) San Pedro River (Hunter Wash)

8) San Pedro River ( Gray Hawk)

9) Cienega Creek (Pima Co.)

10) Rincon Creek

11) Posta Quemada Creek

12) Beuhman Creek

13) Upper Sabino Creek

14) Lower Sabino Creek

15) Cienega Creek (BLM)

16) San Pedro River (Fairbanks)

17) San Pedro River (Boquillas)


17 Replicate Riparian Study Sites

1) Arivaca Creek

2) Santa Cruz River

3) Brown Creek

4) Upper Hot Springs Creek

5) Lower Hot Springs Creek

6) Aravaipa Creek

7) San Pedro River (Hunter Wash)

8) San Pedro River ( Gray Hawk)

9) Cienega Creek (Pima Co.)

10) Rincon Creek

11) Posta Quemada Creek

12) Beuhman Creek

13) Upper Sabino Creek

14) Lower Sabino Creek

15) Cienega Creek (BLM)

16) San Pedro River (Fairbanks)

17) San Pedro River (Boquillas)


Range of conditions across sites
Range of Conditions Across Sites

Cienega Creek

Arivaca Creek

Rincon Creek

Perennial Surface Water

Healthy Vegetation

Intermittent Surface Water

Healthy Vegetation

No Surface Water

Dead & Dormant Vegetation


Hypotheses to be tested
Hypotheses to be Tested

  • Sites with more surface water and healthier, more extensive riparian vegetation will have:

    1) Greater abundance and diversity of birds

    2) Increased food resources (e.g., insects)

    3) Lower levels of nest predation

    4) Higher growth rates for nestlings

    5) Greater reproductive success

    6) Higher annual return rates of adults


Methods bird surveys
Methods - Bird Surveys

  • Estimating bird abundance and diversity during breeding season.

  • 5 replicate bird surveys from April to June at each study site

A. Walther/VIREO

Black Phoebe


Methods nest monitoring
Methods - Nest Monitoring

  • Estimating reproductive success, rates of nest predation, clutch size, and nestling growth rates

  • Monitor nests of all riparian bird species every 2 days from April to July at 4 study sites

Yellow-breasted Chat nest


Methods bird banding
Methods - Bird Banding

  • Estimate annual return rates of a sub-set of adult birds

  • Trap and color-band birds (re-sights in subsequent years)


Methods food resources
Methods - Food Resources

  • Estimating insect abundance, diversity, and biomass

  • Sticky traps hung from trees at 6 study sites to sample aerial insects


Methods surface water vegetation
Methods - Surface Water & Vegetation

  • Estimating volume of surface water at each site every 3 weeks during breeding season

  • Estimating volume of riparian vegetation using point-line-intercept method


Preliminary results
Preliminary Results

  • Comparison of data collected at Rincon Creek and Cienega Creek in 2006

  • Comparison of data collected at Rincon Creek in 2006 with data collected at Rincon Creek during a previous study in 2004 (Powell 2004).


Bird surveys cienega vs rincon
Bird Surveys (Cienega vs. Rincon)

  • Total of 67 species detected at Cienega Creek vs. 59 species detected at Rincon Creek

  • Average of 14 more birds detected per survey point at Cienega Creek vs. Rincon Creek



Relative abundance of large 4 mm insects cienega vs rincon
Relative Abundance of Large (>4 mm) Insects (Cienega vs. Rincon)



Reductions in abundance 2004 2006
Reductions in Abundance (2004-2006) (2004-2006)

  • 2004: Yellow Warblers common (at least 5-6 pairs present throughout breeding season)

  • 2006: Yellow Warblers rare (only 1 bird detected during a single survey)

B. Henry/VIREO


Reductions in breeding 2004 2006
Reductions in Breeding (2004-2006) (2004-2006)

  • < 2004: 9 Bell’s Vireos nests found along Rincon Creek

  • 2004: Breeding of Bell’s Vireos confirmed again at Rincon Creek

  • 2006: Single, failed nest attempt by Bell’s Vireos

S & S Rucker/VIREO



Conclusions
Conclusions (2004-2006)

  • Does situation at Rincon Creek represent future for other riparian areas in Arizona?

  • Are the apparent changes due to reductions in surface water, the decline in health of riparian vegetation, or some combination of both?

  • Future analyses of our data will help to answer these questions.


Thanks to
Thanks to: (2004-2006)

  • Field Assistants: Moez Ali, James Barr, Gavin Bieber, Kylan Frye, Zach Holderby, Dominic LaRoche, Patrick Rainbolt, Eli Rose, Nicholle Stephens, and Sarah Taos.

  • Project Support: Sheridan Stone (DOD), Sally Gall, Mary Hunnicutt, Kathie Senter (BANWR), Bill Childress, Mark Lambert, Patrick O’Neil, Keith Hughes, Jeff Simms, Mark Fredlake (BLM), Brian Powell (UA), Bob Rogers, Susan Crask, Rob Marshall, Mark Haverstitch (TNC), Kerry Baldwin, Martie Meirhauser, Don Carter, Staffan Shorr (Pima Co.), Don Swann, Ann Rasor, Natasha Kline, Matt Daniels (NPS), Josh Taiz, Jim Sutton (CNF), and Douglas Kooi.



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