Bird and vegetation responses to the Sustainable Rivers Program in Iowa

Least Sandpiper tagging    Shorebirds

In 2021 I began a new project at Red Rock Reservoir in central Iowa to assess the bird and vegetation responses to water level management as part of the Sustainable Rivers Program. Several years earlier the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began manipulating water levels in late summer to benefit migrating shorebirds and stimulate vegetation growth that could be reflooded later to benefit migrating waterfowl. Pilot efforts in 2017 and 2020 revealed that the extensive mudflats at this site were used by tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds between July and early September. In July 2021 Nicole Bosco, a M.S. student in my lab, began formal waterbird surveys and vegetation transects to better monitor their responses to changes in water levels. We also initiated a study of the stopover ecology of migrant Least Sandpipers. This work will continue in 2022.