Ducks Unlimited Helps Educate Global Duck Experts

Biologists represented Ducks Unlimited Inc. at North American Duck Symposium in Winnipeg

Ducks Unlimited biologists tour Big Grass Marsh, DU

Ducks Unlimited biologists tour Big Grass Marsh, DU's first conservation project, as part of the symposium.

The 8th North American Duck Symposium took place in Winnipeg, Canada on August 26-30. This year’s symposium was hosted by Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Province of Manitoba, Sustainable Development. 

“This symposium only occurs every three years so it’s ‘the’ waterfowl conference and a great venue for presenting and learning about the latest and greatest in waterfowl and wetland science,” said Dr. John Coluccy, director of conservation planning for DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. “Researchers attend from as far away as Europe and Iceland. It’s a great opportunity to network.”

The Symposium is a forum for academics, government and non-governmental biologists, administrators, students and other professionals to learn about the current state of knowledge regarding the biology, conservation and management of waterfowl and foster an open exchange of ideas about the future of waterfowl research and management in North America. Participants present and discuss current research and management issues of ducks worldwide, with the focus on North America.

The vison of the Duck Symposium “is that well-trained and well-informed educators, researchers and managers will ensure that effective management and conservation efforts sustain quality duck habitats and populations for wildfowling and other societal benefits today and for future generations.”

This year’s symposium addressed this vision by providing a wide range of plenary presentations, including: Assessing and Adapting Human Dimensions; Ecosystem Services and Future Funding; Climate, Migration & Winter Distribution Changes; and Harvest Dynamics and Management. These sessions, along with a full complement of additional oral and poster presentations, provided excellent opportunities for attendees to network and share diversity of thought. 

“Given that Ducks Unlimited uses science to guide our conservation efforts, the Duck Symposium is a great opportunity for conservation staff to seek new collaborations, acquire knowledge to aid their efforts, and provide a venue to present Ducks Unlimited research and program activities,” said Dale James, director of conservation planning for DU’s Southern Region. James gave a plenary presentation on advancing waterfowl conservation through ecosystem services.

Nearly 40 different presentations were provided by Ducks Unlimited, Inc. staff and or supported collaborations, including plenary presentations by DU Chief Scientist Tom Moorman, DU Sr. Science Advisor Dale Humburg, DU Director of Conservation Planning Dale James, DUC Chief Conservation Officer David Howerter, DUC Research Scientist Pascal Badiou and DUC Research Scientist Lauren Bortolotti.

Presentations including DU staff (bold) as co-authors:

Oral Presentations

Abshier, T. History and accomplishments for the Texas Prairie Wetland Project.

Bonczek, E.S., J.R. Marty, S.A. Collins, M.G. Brasher, and K.M. Ringelman. Survival and seasonal habitat use of mottled ducks in southwest Louisiana.

Brasher, M.G., B.M. Allston, N.M. Enwright, M.W. Parr, and B.C. Wilson. Annual assessment of winter waterfowl habitat on inland agricultural lands of the U.S. Western Gulf Coast.

Colmorgen, C., and C. Williams. Building a Predictive Model of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation for Atlantic Brant. 

Ellis-Felege, S. and Kemink, K.M., 2019. Mentoring in the waterfowl profession: challenges and opportunities.

Farley, E., M.L. Schummer, D.J. Leopold, J.M. Coluccy, and D Tozer. Ecological assessment of wetland management techniques on restored wetlands in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex.

Howerter, D.W., M.G. Brasher, and M.G. Anderson. Closing thoughts: building momentum through adaptive learning.

James, J.D., and E.R. Herbert. 2019. Advancing waterfowl conservation through ecosystem services.

Krainyk, A., J.E. Lyons, M.G. Brasher, D.D. Humburg, G.J. Soulliere, J.M. Coluccy, M.J. Petrie, D.W. Howerter, S.M. Slattery, M.B. Rice, and J.C. Fuller. Spatial integration of biological and social objectives to identify priority landscapes for waterfowl habitat conservation.

Lancaster. J., J.B. Davis, R.M. Kaminski, and G.M. Street. Habitat use by female mallards during and after waterfowl hunting season in Mississippi.

Loesch, C.R., K.M. Kemink, R. Cressey, T. Gue, M. Sieges, M. Szymanski. Impacts of oil and gas development on breeding pair abundance.

Massey, E., L.G. Carlson, and D.C. Osborne. Temporal trends in body condition of midcontinent Arctic geese wintering in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

Marty, J.R., J.B. Davis, R.M. Kaminski, and M.G. Brasher. Rice and natural seed biomass estimates for avian habitat conservation in Gulf Coast prairie croplands.

McPherson, J.W., C.K. Williams, A.M. Berlin, and J.M. Coluccy. Behavioral multipliers to resting metabolic rate in black ducks and lesser scaup.

Moorman, T.E., M.G. Brasher, M.E. Heitmeyer, H.M. Hagy, D.D. Humburg, A.H. Raedeke, J.B. Davis, J.C. Feddersen, D.A. Graber, L.W. Naylor, D.C. Osborne, L.A. Reynolds, and E.B. Webb. Nonbreeding distribution dynamics of waterfowl: are patterns changing in the 21st Century.

Rush, K., and J. Straub. Trapping rates, survival, and habitat selection for wood ducks in central Wisconsin. 

Schmidt, B. Healing the land with regenerative agriculture.

Schummer, M.L., J.M. Coluccy, M. Mitchell, J.D. James, L. Van Den Elsen, and M. Notaro. Incorporating climate science into conservation planning for waterfowl during the non-breeding period.

Setash, C., Carlson, L., Kemink, K.M., Varner, D. Beginning a career in waterfowl ecology: challenges and strategy.

Webb, E.B., Ross, B., and Kemink, K.M. Why we need more women in STEM leadership roles: innovations to overcome obstacles and identify solutions.

Poster Presentations

Farley, E., M.L. Schummer, D.J. Leopold, J.M. Coluccy, and D Tozer. Rapid assessment tool for estimating seed and tuber densities in northeastern US wetlands.

Hartke, K., T. Merendino, Greg Green. Building resiliency in coastal waterfowl habitats on the Texas Coast.

Kemink, K.M., C.T. Gue, C.R. Loesch, R. Cressey, M. Sieges, M. Szymanski. Impacts of oil and gas development on brood abundance.

Kuechle, K, E.B. Webb, D. Mengel and A. Main. Neonicotinoid treated corn in floodplain wetlands: impacts to aquatic invertebrates.

McFarland, M., A. Skarke, M. Brasher, B. Davis, A. Linhoss, R. Moorhead, M. Woodrey, M. Armandei, J. French, R. Osario, and F. Vizcarra. The efficacy of marsh terraces for enhancing and restoring Gulf coastal wetlands.

Mitchell, B.J., K.M. Kemink, M.J. Anteau, and A.K. Janke. Assessing invertebrate sampling methods for landscape-level brood survey research.

Pierce. A. Wetland conservation through the Louisiana Waterfowl Project.

Skaggs, C.G., Loesch, C.R., Szymanski, M.L., Rohwer, F.C., Kemink, K., Ringelman, K.M. Effects of oil and gas development on duck nesting ecology.

Terry, C.V., B.J. Mitchell, A.K. Janke, K.M. Kemink, M.J. Anteau, and K.M. Ringelman. Evaluating brood selection of wetlands in crop dominated landscapes within the Prairie Pothole Region.

Webb, E.B., K. Kuechle, D. Mengel and A. Main. Occurrence and drivers of neonicotinoid concentrations in Missouri floodplain wetlands.

Ducks Unlimited is excited to support many of the graduate student researchers who presented the latest science and who are helping shape the future of waterfowl management in North America. These included:

Eccles, G. Investigating spring migration strategies of northern pintails.

Fino, S., J. Stafford, A. Pearse, J. Jenks, and R. Lonsinger. Relating predator community composition and duck nest survival in eastern South Dakota.

Gallman, C.W., E.S. Michel, and J.D. Stafford. Evaluating fall-seeded cover crops for nesting waterfowl in eastern South Dakota.

Lavretsky, P. Population genetics and hybridization of mallards and mallard-like ducks in North America.

Leach, B. Identifying spring migration routes and phenology for blue-winged teal using GSM satellite transmitters.

Linder, T. The role of the Rice Stewardship Partnership in waterfowl conservation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

Masto, N., R.M. Kaminski, B.E. Ross, M.R. Kneece, and P. Gerard. Modeling double-observer aerial survey count data of wintering waterfowl in South Carolina.

Sliwinski, S. M., M. L. Schummer, D. Dunn, M. Wagner, M VanFleet, R. Brown, and C. Whipps. Migration patterns of lesser and greater snow geese through New York State. 

Straub, J., and M. Palumbo. Using the NAWMP to guide a state-wide waterfowl habitat management plan in Wisconsin.

Varner, D., A. Pearse, A. Bishop, R. Grosse, and M. Vrtiska. Development of a long-term monitoring program for waterfowl in the Rainwater Basin Region.