Boater Compliance with Established Voluntary Waterfowl Avoidance Areas on the Upper Mississippi River

Science Center Objects

Disturbance to resting and feeding waterfowl on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Refuge) is of utmost concern to refuge managers. Voluntary Waterfowl Avoidance Areas (VWAA) have been established to reduce boating disturbance to migratory waterfowl on Navigation Pools 7 and 8 of the Upper Mississippi River.  Ongoing boater compliance with the VWAA programs has been monitored over the years to measure long-term voluntary avoidance effectiveness and compliance.   

The objective of this project is to determine boater compliance with VWAAs, determine changes in compliance over the years, identify the types of watercraft and boating activities involved in intrusions into the VWAAs, and document waterfowl disturbance resulting from intrusions.  Results of this work are expected to provide refuge managers with information needed to effectively manage disturbance issues on the Refuge.