USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Ecology and Management of Islands, Peninsulas and Structures for Nesting Waterfowl

Bureau Of Land Management Waterfowl Enhancement Projects In Southeastern Montana

Mark W. Gorges
Bureau of Land Management
Miles City, Montana 59301

Southeastern Montana is situated to the west and southwest of the Prairie Potholes Region; yet there is still good potential for waterfowl enhancements in this part of the Central Flyway. The Miles City District of the BLM has used techniques described in the literature to put waterfowl enhancements on the ground as part of our multiple resource management program. Budget limitations do not allow us to intensively monitor use of our waterfowl projects. I am here to show what we have been doing, to get some feedback on our efforts, and to take new techniques back to the field.

We have included islands in new pond construction where possible. We have cut off peninsulas on existing ponds to create islands. We have used a three legged platform for goose nesting structures on small impoundments and on islands in rivers and ponds. Last year we started installing wood duck boxes on islands and along the banks of the Yellowstone river and its tributaries.

For us, islands in small impoundments are low maintenance structures which provide permanent nesting habitat for geese and ducks. Even the best livestock grazing systems cannot guarantee shoreline vegetative cover every year. Islands, however, are not grazed, and there are no fences to maintain. Our use of goose nesting platforms has evolved from shallow water placement, where they were subjected to severe ice damage, to shore or island placement where maintenance is much reduced. Canada geese (Branta canadensis) nested this year on two of our structures setup this spring, one on an island and one on the shore of a three acre pond. Our new wood duck box program has produced some squirrels. Wood ducks (Aix sponsa) are using boxes in our area, so we are not too discouraged by the lack of nesters in our first year.

BLM is doing waterfowl enhancement work on the ground. Our small scattered projects contribute to improving waterfowl nesting in southeastern Montana.

Previous Section -- Reflections On Electric Fence Management and Research
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Waterfowl and Piping Plover

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:19:11 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]