Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2012


Great Plains Research 22 (Spring 2012):59-67


© 2012 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Endangered interior least terns (Sternula antillarum athalassos) and threatened northern Great Plains piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) nest together on midstream sandbars in large rivers in the interior of North America. We investigated the relationship between river channel width and tern and plover nesting incidence on the lower Platte River, Nebraska, using a model-based logistic regression analysis. Multiple channel width measurements and a long-term nesting data set were used in the analysis. Nesting incidence was positively associated with increasing river channel width proximal to the nesting site. At a greater distance, up to 802 m away from the nesting site, there was no relationship with channel width. Managers and regulators should use these results to aid decisions pertaining to habitat creation and assessing impacts of future projects. Future research should address whether relationships exist between river channel width and nest counts and reproductive rates of interior least tern and piping plovers on the lower Platte River.