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J.2-1: History and Accomplishments for the Texas Prairie Wetland Project

Presented by Taylor Abshier - Email: tabshier@ducks.org

The Texas Prairie Wetlands Project (TPWP) was created in 1991 to deliver waterfowl habitat on private lands to attain objectives set forth by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV), with underlying premises of maintaining sufficient overwinter survival and adequate body condition prior to spring migration. This partnership program is driven by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, GCJV, and Private Landowners. Over the past 28 years the program has delivered over 85,000 acres of wetland restoration, enhancement, and creation on private land on the Texas Gulf Coast through activities on over 1,500 individual managed units. TPWP is driven by science with 1) a basis in population targets and bio-energetically derived habitat objectives, 2) monitoring support through the GCJVs annual Seasonal Surface Water Monitoring protocol to evaluate the available waterfowl habitat on the landscape, and 3) implementation guidance from the Mottled Duck Decision Support Tool (DST). Annual surface water monitoring is completed with satellite imagery from three periods [(early (16 Aug31 Oct), mid (1 Nov15 Jan), late (16 Jan31 Mar)]. The images are processed and classified using ERDAS IMAGINE software. Through this process the GCJV provides information on the landscape condition relative to objectives, flooding performance of TPWP management units, and the contribution of TPWP sites toward landscape-level habitat availability. Data from 2004/05 through 2017/18 show that TPWP projects on the Texas Mid-coast and Chenier Plain represent up to 23% of available wintering waterfowl habitat of the agricultural zone in those regions. Using the Mottled Duck DST TPWP can identify locations along the coast that have potential for Mottled Duck breeding season habitat. With ground truthing on site visits this tool has provided landscape perspective to spatially target quality MODU nesting and brood rearing habitat. With continued support, research, and funding TPWP will continue to deliver high quality nesting, brood rearing, and wintering habitat on the Texas Gulf Coast for years to come.
Session: Conservation & Planning (Friday, August 30, 13:20 to 15:00)