Impact of Oil and Gas Exploration on Breeding Ducks in the Bakken Oil Field

Impact of Oil and Gas Exploration on Breeding Ducks in the Bakken Oil Field

Oil and gas development in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the Northern Great Plains has increased dramatically in recent years. Despite the importance of this region to breeding waterfowl and other wetland and grassland obligate species, very little empirical data exist to support management and conservation decision-making. To address this gap in information, Ducks Unlimited led a group of conservation partners on a study to assess the impacts of oil and gas development on breeding duck pair and brood abundance, two vital rate parameters that have a strong influence on duck population dynamics. Data was collected during 2015-2017 with field technicians surveying thousands of wetlands for breeding pairs in the spring and duck broods in the summer.  Sampled wetlands fall within increasing levels of disturbance from oil well activity.  Final data analysis is ongoing with results expected in 2019.

Partners: Ducks Unlimited, HAPET office, North Dakota Game and Fish, the Central Flyway Council, Delta Waterfowl, and the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture