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Effects of acidic precipitation on waterbirds in Maine

June 16, 2010

During 1982-84 waterbird use and numbers of waterbird broods were recorded for 29 wetlands on two study areas (25 and 77 km2) in east-central Maine underlain with bedrock having low, acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC). Twenty-nine wetlands over bedrock with high ANC (Class 3) and 31 wetlands over bedrock of low ANC (Class 1) were evaluated as predictors of wetland pH and alkalinity. Using the alkalinity value of < 200 ueq/l as the criterion for vulnerability to acidification, only one wetland in the high lANC study area and all wetlands in the low ANC area were classified as vulnerable. .Avian use of wetlands by 21 species that were observed > 25 times was greater (P< ..0001) for downstream (84%) versus headwater (16%) wetlands during 1982-84. Avian use was similar when wetlands were classified either as beaver-created or glacial in origin. Headwater wetlands, which are most vulnerable to acidification within the low ANC areas, are used mostly by common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), and common loon (Gavia immer). Common merganser (Mergus merganser), spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularia), and chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) were associated with headwater wetlands about equally. The majority of species (16), including dabbling ducks, used, almost exclusively, wetlands classified as downstream or beaver-created. For all years, 87% of the 246 broods observed was on wetlands classified as either downstream or beaver-created. Our data suggest that avian use of wetlands is influenced more by the morphometric and vegetative characteristics of the wetland basin rather than by the wetland water chemistry. Nevertheless, large numbers of a variety of avian species are associated with wetlands underlain with bedrock that has little or no capacity to neutralize acidic depositions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1985
Title Effects of acidic precipitation on waterbirds in Maine
Authors J. R. Longcore, D.G. McAuley, K. L. Stromborg, Gary L. Hensler
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Transactions of the Northeast Section of the Wildlife Society, Annual Fish and Wildlife Conference
Index ID 5223782
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center