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Evaluating water management scenarios to support habitat management for the Cape Sable seaside sparrow

June 22, 2016

The endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis) is endemic to south Florida and a key indicator species of marl prairie, a highly diverse freshwater community in the Florida Everglades. Maintenance and creation of suitable habitat is seen as the most important pathway to the persistence of the six existing sparrow subpopulations; however, major uncertainties remain in how to increase suitable habitat within and surrounding these subpopulations, which are vulnerable to environmental stochasticity. Currently, consistently suitable conditions for the Cape Sable seaside sparrow are only present in two of these subpopulations (B and E). The water management scenarios evaluated herein were intended to lower water levels and improve habitat conditions in subpopulation A and D, raise water levels to improve habitat conditions in subpopulations C and F, and minimize impacts to subpopulations B and E. Our objective in this analysis was to compare these scenarios utilizing a set of metrics (short- to long-time scales) that relate habitat suitability to hydrologic conditions. Although hydrologic outputs are similar across scenarios in subpopulation A, scenario R2H reaches the hydroperiod and depth suitability targets more than the other scenarios relative to ECB, while minimizing negative consequences to subpopulation E. However, although R2H hydroperiods are longer than those for ECB during the wet season in subpopulations C and F, depths during the breeding season are predicted to decrease in suitability (less than -50 cm) relative to existing conditions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Evaluating water management scenarios to support habitat management for the Cape Sable seaside sparrow
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161107
Authors James M. Beerens, Stephanie S. Romañach, Mark McKelvy
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2016-1107
Index ID ofr20161107
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center