Exotic Species, Migratory Birds, Sea Level Rise, Wetlands, And Contaminants...USGS Scientists Discuss Innovative Chesapeake Bay Restoration Studies

ey factor in the nutrias' destructive foraging patterns. Through a collaborative partnership with the state of Maryland and the USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), USGS scientists are investigating the role of nutria in the extensive loss of emergent marsh at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The experimental study is using large fenced plots (exclosures) to determine whether removal of nutria can stabilize or recover marsh vegetation. Twenty experimental plots were placed in the marsh requiring 1.5 miles of fencing; an additional 38 unfenced control plots also were established. Researchers are monitoring the effects on vegetation through direct fall and spring measurement of selected subplots supplemented by aerial photography of whole plots. ("The Effect of Nutria (Myocastor Coypus) on Marsh Loss in the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland: Exclosure Study," by Michael Haramis, USGS, Laurel, Md. and Robert Colona, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Md.)

Radio Tracking of Migrant Game Birds
USGS wildlife research scientists have partnered with the USFWS, the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the State of Maryland to investigate the ecology and status of the sora rail, an important game bird. Each fall, thousands of soras make a migration stopover in the fresh-tidal marshes of the Chesapeake Bay. The rails favored historic stopover site in the region has been the wild rice marshes bordering the tidal Patuxent River. The principal investigative technique researchers are using to study the sora rail stopover ecology and migration characteristics are large-scale bandings and radio telemetry. The tracking and observational procedures are described in the poster. ("Length of Stay, Survival, Habitat Use, and Migration Characteristics of Fall Migrant Soras on The Patuxent River Marsh As Determined By Radio Telemetry," by Michael Haramis, USGS, Laurel, Md. and Gregory

Contact: Bob Reynolds
United States Geological Survey

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