Nebraska Game and Parks Commission



Date of this Version



The Author(s) 2018


Wetlands (2019) 39:173–184


Accurate bioenergetic carrying capacity estimates of wetlands on public and private lands, as well as those managed for crop production are important for managing waterfowl populations and habitats. Given the importance of wetlands in the Rainwater Basin region of Nebraska for spring migrating waterfowl, we quantified and compared seed and aquatic invertebrate biomass and true metabolizable energy (TME) at three wetland types; public wetlands, wetlands enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and cropped wetlands. Median seed biomass estimates at public,WRP, and cropped wetlands were 593 kg/ha, 561 kg/ha, and 419 kg/ha respectively. Cumulative TME varied among wetland type, with greater TME at cropped wetlands (2431 kcal/kg) than public (1740 kcal/kg) and WRP wetlands (1781 kcal/kg). Seed biomass estimates from this study were statistically greater than those currently used for management planning in the RWB, however, TME estimates were statistically lower than estimates currently assumed for WRP and public wetlands. Our estimates for aquatic invertebrate biomass were approximately 40-fold less than seed biomass estimates. Based on spring ponding frequency at wetlands in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin, and the caloric estimates derived for each wetland type, we concluded that the regions wetlands meet the energetic demand of spring migrating waterfowl during 10% of years.