U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

October 2004


Published by Proc. 16th International Sunflower Conference, Fargo, ND


Sunflower is an important crop for many farmers in the upper Midwest, especially in North Dakota and South Dakota. Blackbirds have been a major problem for the sunflower grower community. Bud depredation to a field can be devastating. The USDA-APHISWS is charged with reducing the conflict between the birds and the farmers. Many methods have been employed by Wildlife Services and other agencies to lessen the damage. One method is the reduction of the cattail (Typha spp.) habitat used by blackbirds in and around wetlands; however, cattails are used by other animals. Consequently, there is a need to insure habitat manipulation is not significantly affecting non-target species, hence knowing what portion of the total cattail habitat is being manipulated is critical. The purpose of this study was to quantify cattail habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North Dakota. Remote sensing using aerial infrared photographs was used to sample 120, 10.36 km sq. plots, randomly distributed throughout each of four strata dividing the PPR in ND. ArcInfo 8x Geographic Information System (GIs) software was used to run a supervised classification to delineate cattail from other vegetation. Results found 2,245 =t 257 (S.E.) km sq. of cattail in the PPR. These findings show that less than one percent of the total cattail stand in the PPR is being affected by the USDA cattail management efforts.