Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
These guidelines generally describe waterfowl and other wildlife population levels, habitat conditions and additional factors that combine to make the treatment applicable to a particular situation or landscape.
Waterfowl management guidelines are intended to target practices to the appropriate situation in order to ensure maximum benefits and cost effectiveness. The intent is to shift from an opportunistic approach to the most efficient and cost effective methods that are possible. Opportunity and feasibility, however, will continue to be strong influences.
While it may be most cost effective, for example, to acquire a certain area in fee title, that option may not be available. Less efficient means must be pursued. The intent is not to take judgment out of the hands of field personnel. Rather, it is to clarify the range of conditions under which a practice is most effective and to assist in identifying situations in which certain practices may yield higher benefits. Local landscape knowledge, experience, budgets, and judgments will be important factors in determining what actions are implemented. Guidelines are intended to ensure that at any level of activity, optimum benefits are realized.
Guidelines for actions to achieve PPJV Objective 2 need to be further developed and refined. These guidelines may or may not be similar to waterfowl management guidelines. In the case of shorebirds, for example, the PPJV Draft Shorebird Management Plan (Appendix F) provides a number of wetland management techniques for shorebirds that can be incorporated as part of an overall management scenario. Specific management recommendations for other non-waterfowl migratory birds are being pursued with experts involved in Partners in Flight and Federal and state agency non-game and endangered species programs. The PPJV Board will support the development of management guidelines for non-waterfowl species that can be incorporated into overall wetland/grassland management practices in the PPR.
This challenge has been differently approached in the Service's Region 6 and Region 3 portions of the PPJV. In Region 6, the Service Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (HAPET) office has developed and used the Multi-agency Approach to Planning and Evaluation (MAAPE) process. The MAAPE process has used the existing FSM sample plots and data to estimate current waterfowl populations and recruitment rates for each of the 14 wetland management districts comprising the prairie pothole portion of North Dakota, South Dakota, and northeastern Montana. By "treating" the landscape sample in each WMD and expanding the results, Region 6 has been able to estimate the total habitat and management that may be needed in the subject area. Changes in waterfowl production and the relative effectiveness of various potential treatments on each sample were evaluated and compared using the mallard production model, waterfowl management guidelines, and the combined expertise of a multi-disciplinary work group from each WMD. While the results of these MAAPE evaluations are but one of a nearly in infinite potential combination of strategies, the MAAPE process has been used to develop a reasonable quantification of habitat and management needs for the PPJV in the Service, Region 6.
In Region 3, monitoring is used to gauge progress toward objectives, and to provide information for planning. The FSM sample plot surveys (established in the Minnesota and Iowa portions of the PPJV) are used to gather baseline data on waterfowl breeding pairs and recruitment; other wetland migratory birds are also recorded. In addition to the FSM surveys, point count surveys have been established to monitor grassland-dependent migratory birds, and scent post surveys are conducted to provide information on the status of predator populations.
Guidelines and Strategies are presented under the following headlines: