Wetland use by non-breeding ducks in coastal Texas, U.S.A

James T Anderson, George T Muehl, Thomas C Tacha, David S Lobpries


Wetland use by nonbreeding ducks in coastal Texas in the areas between Galveston Bay and the Rio Grande were studied, September 1991 to March 1993, to determine the most important wetland types based on density. Twenty-five species of ducks were observed using wetlands on a stratified (based on dominant land use) random sample of 64.75 ha (one-quarter section) plots. Ranks of density for all ducks, as a group, were highest in lacustrine littoral emergent nonpersistent wetlands. Anatini density ranks were greatest in wetlands with scrub-shrub vegetation, but individual species' ranks varied. Dendrocygnini and Aythyini density ranks were highest in lacustrine littoral wetlands, particularly those with aquatic-bed vegetation. Ducks depend on a wide array of wetland types (including 48 of 82 available subclasses), and management should provide complexes of wetlands. Management should concentrate on protecting, enhancing, and/or creating 15 of 1,201 wetland types occurring in the coastal plains of Texas that were prioritized for management actions. These wetlands were predominantly aquatic-bed, scrub-shrub, and unconsolidated substrate types.

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