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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Community Characteristics of Breeding Passerine Birds in Relation to Riverine Habitats on Selected Reaches of the Upper Mississippi River

The Upper Mississippi River is an ecosystem of national priority for research, monitoring, and natural resource management. Concerns regarding the long-term viability of the Upper Mississippi River as a migratory bird resource relate directly to the adverse effects of several human-induced factors.

These factors include sedimentation, operation and maintenance of the 9-ft navigation channel, navigation developments, industrial and sewer effluent, urban and agricultural runoff, recreation, and other influences.

In areas where migratory bird habitat has been subjected to intense and cumulative impacts (e.g., the Illinois River, the Lower Missouri River, and the Lower Mississippi River), once flourishing habitats are now gone and only a small fraction of their former migratory bird populations persist.

The goal of this research effort is to investigate habitat relationships of birds that breed in six major floodplain habitat types (forest shrub, wet meadow, upland grass, Typha dominated emergent wetland, and other emergent wetlands) and to describe the breeding bird communities in each of these habitat types.

Random survey points, stratified by the six habitat types, were generated for Pools 4, 8, and 13 of the Upper Mississippi River. These points were surveyed annually during the summer for birds and habitat/vegetation features.

Data on the surrounding habitat were also gathered within 200 and 500m of these survey points using geographic information system technology. The purpose of this research is to develop models of bird-habitat relationships at various scales to aid managers with planning and habitat acquisition.

Data were collected from 1994 through 1997. Statistical analyses and manuscript writing will be completed in October 2000.

The project was completed in September 2001.

Principal Investigator: Eileen Kirsch

Pool 4 - Reach 1 - Upper Mississippi River
Pool 8 - Reach 1 - Upper Mississippi River
Pool 13 - Reach 1 - Upper Mississippi River


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