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Banding Together for Waterfowl

2010 Spring Habitat Conditions

Waterfowl returned to variable wetland conditions this spring on key breeding areas

—DU Field Biologists

Field report map - click to enlarge
Click map to enlarge.

1. BRITISH COLUMBIA With a below-average snowpack along the coast, spring runoff may be lighter than normal in this region. Dry weather has also prevailed throughout much of the interior, where several large precipitation events will be needed to replenish wetlands.

2. ALBERTA Following a dry fall, winter snowfall was below average throughout most of Alberta. The warm, dry weather pattern continued through March, producing generally fair to poor wetland conditions across this province's agricultural regions. The only bright spot is a small pocket of good habitat on the southeastern prairie. In the boreal forest, a below-average snowpack will also likely result in fair to poor spring wetland conditions.

3. SASKATCHEWAN Winter snowfall was also below average across much of Saskatchewan's parkland region. While some larger wetland basins will have carryover water from last fall, temporary and seasonal wetlands will likely be in short supply in many areas. The prairies generally received more winter snowfall than the parklands, producing fair wetland conditions. In the boreal forest, below-average runoff is expected, but wetland conditions in this region should remain in good shape.

4. MANITOBA Winter snowfall was variable across southwest Manitoba's pothole country. Overall, wetland habitat remains in good shape in this region, largely because of abundant carryover water from last fall and high moisture content in the snowpack. In the north, spring wetland conditions are expected to be good despite below-average runoff.

5. ONTARIO Wetland conditions in southern Ontario range from poor in the far south to good in the southeast, where permanent wetlands remain near full supply. The outlook for breeding waterfowl in northern Ontario remains positive with wetlands in the northwest in slightly better shape than those in the northeast.

6. QUEBEC Despite well below normal precipitation, wetlands remain at or near full supply in this province. As a result, prospects remain good for breeding waterfowl this spring.

7. ATLANTIC CANADA With below normal snow cover and a limited frost seal, spring runoff was greatly reduced this year. However, most wetland impoundments continue to operate at normal spring water levels, and the outlook for breeding waterfowl remains favorable in this region overall.

8. NORTH-CENTRAL U.S. After the spring runoff, generally good to excellent wetland conditions were present across most of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, and Iowa. Only in western Montana, western Wyoming, and northeastern Minnesota are wetland conditions rated fair. While the continued loss of upland cover on former Conservation Reserve Program lands and native prairie is a serious concern, prospects for waterfowl production in the Great Plains states remain good this year.

9. WESTERN U.S. In California, the outlook for waterfowl has improved with the return of normal precipitation. In the Central Valley, waterfowl habitat conditions range from very good in the Sacramento Valley to fair in the San Joaquin. In the Intermountain West, habitat conditions are variable, ranging from fair to good across the region. In Alaska, the outlook for waterfowl habitat was generally good prior to the spring runoff.


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