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Data Release for Assessing the Impact of Changing Water Resources on Migratory Bird Health and Management in the Central Flyway of the United States

May 20, 2024

There is a growing movement within natural resource management to view wildlife health as a cumulative outcome of many different factors, rather than simply the absence of disease. This inclusive understanding of health opens the door to management options that are more creative than traditional techniques to prevent or mitigate pathogens. The public health field uses a determinants of health framework to understand the physical, social, and cultural systems that impact health at the individual and community levels (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2016). Applying a similar framework to wildlife can help managers focus on tangible actions to positively impact wildlife health in the absence of disease (Wittrock et al. 2019). In the south-central United States, changes in water availability and quality resulting from changing temperature, precipitation, and land-use patterns can have significant impacts on the health of migratory birds that depend on wildlife refuges as seasonal habitat. These data were collected in partnership with several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges across Oklahoma (n=2), New Mexico (n=3), and Louisiana (n=1, 8 individual refuges administratively grouped within the Southeast Louisiana Refuge Complex) to examine how managers define determinants of health for migratory birds and assess how those determinants may be impacted by local changes in water regimes. This data release contains nineteen (19) related datafiles and their associated metadata. For each participating refuge there are three files: an image file of the final conceptual diagram, a .csv file containing information about the elements in the diagram, and a .csv file containing information about the connections in the diagram. The conceptual diagram of migratory bird health was constructed using information collected through interviews with refuge personnel and supplemented (to gain additional context, when necessary) with refuge management documents and information on their public-facing websites. The diagrams are provided as .jpg files exported from the free system mapping and visualization program Kumu, in which they were created. Each diagram consists of nodes (referred to as elements) and relationships (referred to as connections). The elements and connections represent elements of the refuge system that were highlighted by personnel as playing an important role in migratory bird health or water availability. Detailed, narrative descriptions for each system component are provided in their respective .csv files. There is also a .csv file containing data from a pre-interview survey sent to each refuge to gather basic information about the high-priority migratory bird guilds on their refuge, their management objectives in relation to migratory birds, and the water-related threats they consider highest concern.

Publication Year 2024
Title Data Release for Assessing the Impact of Changing Water Resources on Migratory Bird Health and Management in the Central Flyway of the United States
DOI 10.5066/P9CDTM9S
Authors Katrina E Alger, Renee McPherson, Erik K Hofmeister
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization National Climate Adaptation Science Center