Metapopulation dynamics of piping plovers in the Northern Great Plains

Science Center Objects

NPWRC is leading a multi-agency study to understand metapopulation dynamics of piping plovers in the Northern Great Plains.  Piping plovers are a federally listed species that nests on riverine sandbars and shorelines of wetlands and reservoirs. These habitats are dynamic in response to climate and water-management regimes of the Missouri River. The US Army Corps of Engineers manages the Missouri River for hydropower, recreation, water supply, navigation, flood control, and fish and wildlife.  That management strategy can put plovers in jeopardy.  Accordingly, the Corps is creating breeding habitat for plovers on the Missouri River. Additionally, other key areas where plovers breed, wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region, are under threat from changing climate and land-use practices. NPWRC recently completed year 6 of an 8-year study that involves marking adults and chicks with alphanumeric color bands and resighting them at breeding areas throughout the Northern Great Plains.  This study will provide population demographic and dispersal information that will greatly inform decisions about management, conservation, and recovery of this species.