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Waterfowl and Climate Change: Issues and Implications. Sonja M. Smith. The Nature of the Problem. Increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (CO 2 )…. The Nature of the Problem. Rising global temperatures…. The Nature of the Problem. Changing precipitation patterns….

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Presentation Transcript
the nature of the problem
The Nature of the Problem
  • Increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (CO2)…
the nature of the problem3
The Nature of the Problem
  • Rising global temperatures…
the nature of the problem4
The Nature of the Problem
  • Changing precipitation patterns…
the nature of the problem5
The Nature of the Problem
  • Rising sea levels,
  • Mounting climactic variability,
  • And, more (often) extreme climactic events…
the nature of the problem6
The Nature of the Problem
  • Anthropogenic land cover change further confounds the issue…

Johannesburg, South Africa

Morenci Mine, Morenci, AZ

climate change and wetlands
Climate Change and Wetlands…
  • Important breeding grounds
  • Congregation sites throughout the year/migration
  • Important winter habitat
  • Biodiversity hotspots in arid regions

Basque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM

waterfowl
Waterfowl
  • Provide important ecosystem goods, annually:
    • 12 million hunting days
    • 46 million birders
  • Integral component of natural ecosystems
  • Critical role in wildlife policy development
    • National Wildlife Refuge System
waterfowl and climate change
Waterfowl and Climate Change
  • Coastal/Inland wetland habitat loss
    • Breeding grounds
    • Migration corridors (flyways)
    • Stopover sites
  • Timing/distance travelled during migration

Strong relationship between waterfowl & water conditions

the migratory flyways
The Migratory Flyways
  • 1) Pacific
  • 2) Central
  • 3) Mississippi
  • 4) Atlantic

3

1

2

4

pacific flyway
Pacific Flyway
  • Habitat loss from rising sea levels/encroaching development
  • ↓ snow accumulation and earlier snowmelt = ↓ summer water
    • 10-30 days earlier
    • 11% decrease in snowpack
    • Cascades: 30-60% decline in snowmelt-derived water
central flyway
Central Flyway
  • Water regulation/diversion (dams)
    • Reduction in open channels/marshes
    • Sandhill Cranes, Whooping Cranes
  • ↓ snowpack/higher temperatures
    • Limited water availability for humans/other species
  • The Prairie Pothole Region
mississippi flyway
Mississippi Flyway
  • Water/shoreline habitat loss in Great Lakes…
    • 19-39% decline in duck numbers
  • Drop in water levels (up to 2.4’)
    • Decline in SAV
  • Increasing contaminant levels
  • Gulf Coast sea-level rise  45% coastal habitat loss
  • Canvasbacks, Redheads, Lesser Scaup
atlantic flyway
Atlantic Flyway
  • Sea-level rise (up to 15”) confounded by development
  • Canvasback, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Greater & Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Mottled Duck, Wood Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Tundra Swan
chesapeake bay
Chesapeake Bay
  • One of the top wintering waterfowl areas in N. America
    • >1 million waterfowl
  • Exacerbation of pollution effects
  • Decline in SAV
    • Degradation in water quality
    • Warming temperatures
    • Increasing human population
  • Area already abandoned by Northern Pintail, Redhead, American Wigeon
north america s duck factory
North America’s duck factory

Central

Flyway

  • 10% breeding habitat
  • Produces 50-80% N. America’s ducks
  • >75% harvested ducks

Mississippi

Flyway

Prairie Pothole Region

Pacific

Flyway

climate change and the ppr
Climate Change and the PPR
  • Palmer draught severity index (PDSI)
    • GCMs and sensitivity simulations to predict habitat conditions/project future duck numbers
  • Correlation between:
    • pond numbers and PDSI
    • breeding duck numbers and PDSI
  • 2020s: mild drought, PDSI = -1.41
    • May pond numbers decline by 23%
    • Duck population decline by 26%
climate change and the ppr19
Climate Change and the PPR
  • 2050s: moderate drought, PDSI = -2.59
    • May Pond numbers decrease by 38%
    • Duck population decline by 46%
northern forest tundra can and ak
Northern forest/tundra (CAN and AK)
  • 20% N. American breeding waterfowl
  • Wintering habitat for 50% Pacific Flyway birds
  • Arctic region is the fastest warming
  • Loss of important tundra habitat
  • Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter,

White-winged Scoter

migration
Migration
  • Species expected to skirt their ranges northwards and eastwards
  • Shift in wintering areas
    • i.e., Lithuania Mallards
  • Shortening migration routes
  • Take-off/Arrival times noticeably earlier
effects on waterfowl
Effects on waterfowl
  • Decrease breeding frequency
  • Reduce clutch sizes
  • Shorten breeding season
  • Decrease re-nesting frequency
  • Decrease nest success
  • Lower brood survival
  • Lower recruitment + constant mortality = declining populations
management implications
Management Implications
  • Climate change is detracting for many waterfowl species, but…
  • Habitat loss/other related anthropogenic effects on the environment confound this!
  • Repercussions of habitat loss and climate change may be mitigated by the distribution of remaining habitat …
management implications24
Management Implications
  • YOU as future managers:
  • Predict areas important for waterfowl in the future
  • Set aside larger areas, buffering zones
  • YOU as citizens, hunters, bird-watchers…
ducks unlimited
Ducks Unlimited
  • Grassroots, volunteer-based organization
  • Conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for N. America’s waterfowl
  • 792,638 members (as of 1 January 2008)
  • 12,283,871 acres since 1937
  • $2.70 billion since 1937
  • http://www.ducks.org/conservation/
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Dr. Bill Mannan
  • Geoffrey Palmer
  • Clay Bowers