Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
In 1989, the PPJV Management Board adopted the following waterfowl population objectives:
The NAWMP recommended a nesting success of 50 percent for the PPR. Upon careful review, the PPJV's Waterfowl Technical Committee (WTC), concluded that, at least for the U.S. portion of the PPR, this rate of nesting success was unrealistic, and unlikely to be achieved.
Consequently, in 1991, based on advice and recommendations from the WTC the PPJV Management Board modified those objectives to include a recruitment rate of 0.6, with no area under management for breeding waterfowl having a rate below 0.49. While the PPJV breeding duck objective currently remains the same, the 0.6 recruitment rate required that the fall flight objective be adjusted to 9.5 million ducks.
An evaluation plan has been approved by the Management Board and by the NAWMP Committee to evaluate accomplishments and guide future management. The PPJV evaluation plan consists of three components:
When applied in conjunction with a strategic plan, monitoring provides feedback on whether a management practice(s) has achieved expected recruitment rates. This information then provides guidance for adjusting and making future management decisions.
PPJV Objective 1 is stated in terms of duck populations and recruitment rates. Monitoring is critical for adjusting or refining management strategies. Monitoring uses existing institutions, personnel, and operations. On-going programs of monitoring, e.g., nest success, breeding populations, annual production and survival, breeding bird surveys, and surveys of habitat conditions are adequate as designed for current data needs.
The Population and Production Estimates System (PPES) will be used to monitor breeding pair populations and estimate recruitment. The PPES consists of randomly located Four-Square-Mile (FSM) plots on which duck populations, wetland information and wetland associated wildlife population information are recorded annually. Also, non-wetland habitats are monitored at 5-year intervals. This system is operational in most of the PPJV.
The Continental Evaluation Team's (CET) draft "Non-waterfowl Evaluation Proposal" suggests coordinated monitoring with entities specializing in non-waterfowl species. The PPJV's monitoring efforts will be coordinated with, among others:
Research findings show that predation is the most important factor depressing waterfowl production. Therefore, expansion of predator surveys is essential for designing waterfowl management strategies.
The evaluation plan uses FSM sample plots to monitor habitat conditions and trends. Sample plot information will be updated at 5-year intervals, and habitat conditions and trends will be compared over time.
Assessment will test these parameters on six sites (3 treatment, 3 control), using two sites per year for 3 years, beginning in 1996. Initial assessment study sites will include CRP lands, and habitat programs with the highest cost, or of greatest predicted importance. Landscapes proposed for study will contain enough of the most important cover types to guarantee meaningful sample sizes of nests.
Data-based estimates of actual numbers of breeding pairs of mallards in the spring and the number of ducklings fledged to the fall flight, compared to final model output, will provide the information necessary to validate and update the Mallard Production Model (MPM) performance. For each study area, estimates will be provided for:
About one-half the annual assessment costs should be a project cost. While not every project would be subjected to assessment, funds would be pooled and expended on selected assessment sites. As assessment efforts proceed, some redirecting of state, Federal, and private research toward PPJV assessment would be possible.
To be high priority, directed studies should: