Demographic response of least terns and piping plovers to the 2011 Missouri River Flood

Science Center Objects

The largest recorded flood event on the Missouri River occurred during 2011. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center recently concluded a study that evaluated effects of that flood on least tern and piping plover breeding populations. These federally-listed species nest on riverine sandbars and reservoir shorelines.  Since construction of the dams on the Missouri River there have been few floods of a magnitude great enough to create sandbar habitat for these species.  We collected breeding productivity data of least terns and piping plovers during 2012­­–2014.  We compared estimates of breeding population, nest success, and chick survival at the Garrison River Segment and Lake Sakakawea to estimates from data we collected there from 2006­–2008. These comparisons informed the Corps about how quickly newly-created habitat is used and provide information about how long quality habitat persists.