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Tuesday, October 18 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Wildlife. Effects of Energy Development on Waterfowl Nesting Ecology in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota

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AUTHORS: Cassandra G. Skaggs, Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University AgCenter; Kevin M. Ringelman, Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University AgCenter; Kaylan Carrlson, Ducks Unlimited; Tanner Gue, Ducks Unlimited; Chuck Loesch, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl; Michael L. Szymanski, North Dakota Game and Fish Department

ABSTRACT: The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is responsible for producing more than half of the dabbling ducks in North America, many of which winter or migrate through Louisiana. The PPR in northwestern North Dakota coincides with the Bakken shale formation, where rapidly accelerating oil and gas development has the potential to impact more than 1 million duck pairs. Our goal is to assess the effect of energy development in the Bakken on waterfowl nest density and success. We selected sites that were stratified by the intensity of energy development as measured by the number of well pads present (Control: 0, Low: 1, Medium: 2-3, High: >3). We searched for waterfowl nests on at least two 32-ha grassland replicates on each of 28 plots (7 in each category) between 30 April-30 June 2015 and 28 April-15 July 2016. We searched for nests every three weeks using a chain drag and revisited every 5-7 days to determine nest fate. In 2015 and 2016, we searched over 2,600 hectares and found over 2,531 nests total. Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), and Gadwall (Anas strepera) comprised 75% of nests that were located. Preliminary results suggest nest survival weakly increases with the intensity of petroleum development. While areas of high extraction activity may lead to an increase in nest success, an irreversible decrease in nest density could lower the waterfowl production capacity of the region due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am
Riverview B

Attendees (4)