Impact of Oil and Gas Energy Development on Breeding Waterfowl

Much of the Bakken Formation of Montana and North Dakota overlaps with important breeding waterfowl, shorebird, and waterbird habitat in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region. In 2014, PPJV partners initiated a collaborative effort to investigate the potential impact of oil development and extraction in this area on breeding ducks. This collaboration included the USFWS HAPET Office and the National Wildlife Refuge System, Ducks Unlimited (DU), North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Delta Waterfowl, Central Flyway, PPJV, and Louisiana State University.

The project was designed to collect information on three components of the breeding season: waterfowl pair abundance, nest success, and brood abundance. Sampling effort was distributed across a gradient of energy development intensity. We conducted a pilot brood survey during 2014 and completed the first full field season during the 2015 breeding season. Breeding pair surveys and nest searches were initiated in May, and