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The following schedule is from the 72nd Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies which was held October 21-24, 2018 in Mobile, Alabama. 
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Tuesday, October 23 • 8:20am - 8:40am
Wildlife 2 Track: Changes in Waterfowl Abundance and Species Composition on Louisiana Coastal Wildlife Management Areas and Refuges 2004–2016

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AUTHORS: James M. Whitaker, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge; Kevin M. Ringelman, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University AgCenter; Joseph R. Marty, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge; Will M. Selman, Millsaps College, Department of Biology; Jeb T. Linscombe, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

ABSTRACT: Aerial waterfowl surveys are conducted on major wintering areas to provide regional population indices and determine habitat use of non-breeding waterfowl. Coastal Louisiana supports more than one third of the wintering continental dabbling duck population and up to two thirds of those found in the Mississippi Flyway. Accordingly, considerable effort is allocated to monitoring waterfowl abundance in coastal Louisiana, with trickle-down implications for habitat management. We conducted monthly surveys November–January (2004–2016) on nine state-owned coastal wildlife management areas and refuges. Across all sites and survey years, the most commonly observed species were gadwall (Mareca strepera), green-winged teal (Anas creeca), and mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). Despite increases in breeding population indices to near record highs, their populations were stable region-wide in coastal Louisiana, with minor declines on some heavily-hunted and unmanaged areas. In contrast, northern pintail (Anas acuta) experienced a precipitous decline region-wide, and on four of the nine major wintering areas surveyed. We hypothesize that this decline is related to changes in coastal and agricultural habitats. Diving duck populations tended to be increasing or stable: lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) increased significantly on two areas, and ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris) increased substantially on one area, perhaps because of increases in water depth. Our results demonstrate the utility of aerial surveys for monitoring waterfowl populations and documenting important trend data for commonly-observed species. We also pose hypotheses about habitat change to help guide future analyses and coastal waterfowl management.

Tuesday October 23, 2018 8:20am - 8:40am CDT
Bon Secour Bay II

Attendees (6)