Weather Effects on Surface Water as Waterfowl Habitat

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 11:30 AM
130 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Tara Rodgers, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and S. DeMaso and N. Enwright

In order to help monitor wintering waterfowl habitat the Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) sought to determine if one or more weather parameters might explain the abundance of ephemeral shallow wetland habitats. Three different time periods were used to assess the habitat. The early period was from August 16 - October 31. The middle period was November 1 - January 15; and, the late period was from January 16 - March 31. Additionally, certain weather parameters were assessed to see if they correlated with the flooded acreage. The Drought Atlas was used as a criteria for determining the five weather stations in the different initiative areas provided by the GCJV. The Drought Atlas also provided calculations for weather variables used such as the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) and the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), and Standard Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). Using those calculations, some correlations were made to determine the relationship between the weather variable and the flooded acres. Although, it is still early to determine if there is a direct correlation. We found that during the early and late periods that SPEI 1 month showed a strong correlation. However, when all the periods were pooled together the SPI 4 month showed a correlation. The middle period did not show much of a correlation with any of the indices. Precipitation and average daily temperature also showed some correlations in different periods. These weather indices may prove to be effective in helping explain the variability in the waterfowl habitat. Adding more habitat acreage and weather data each year allows for the database to grow larger, and become more accurate.