Benefits of Engineered Habitats to Seasonal Bird Communities on the Savannah Harbor Navigation Project, Dredged Material Containment Areas, 1994-2012
Engineer Research and Development Center Environmental Laboratory Vicksburg United States
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This report presents the results of a long-term habitat and trend analyses of bird community data from a monitoring effort conducted on five Dredged Material Containment Areas DMCAs from 1994 to 2012. The USACE Savannah District developed and implemented a Long-Term Management Strategy LTMS for the DMCAs in 1996 to mitigate lost wetland habitat due to maintenance operations in the Savannah Harbor, and to provide habitat for the floral and faunal communities that otherwise would be available if not for the urban and economic development of the area. Bimonthly surveys were conducted from 1994 to 2012 to assess the effectiveness of the LTMS to provide seasonal habitat for the bird community. Archived quarterly satellite imagery was collected and analyzed from 2001 to 2011 to assess year-round seasonal habitat availability. All bird community data collected were fitted to a negative binomial mean abundance or Poisson distribution mean species richness and used to assess trends for 180 individual species and 12 species groups for spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons from 1994 to 2012. Results indicate that the Savannah DMCAs support stable to increasing populations of most species and species groups during each season, including many species ranked as regional priority species.