US Fish and Wildlife Cancels Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey

For the first time in 65 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have canceled their annual joint Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey.  The cancelation is due to concern over the current Coronavirus restrictions.

The survey, conducted annually in May, has been used since 1955 to estimate breeding populations and make management decisions for waterfowl.  The USFWS, along with the Flyway Councils, will use long-term data from spring/summer monitoring for these species to make decisions on regulations and harvest management decisions.

This will have no effect on the 2020/2021 season regulations.  These regulations were based on habitat conditions and population estimates from the 2019 breeding season.

To set regulations for the 2021/2022 season the USFWS will utilize the long-term data and models to predict the 2020 spring populations and habitat conditions instead of the survey data.

The USFWS expects that the 2021/2022 regulations will be, in general, similar to the 2020/2021 season based on the long-term averages, however, in some cases changes may be appropriate and the USFWS will work with the Flyway Councils to identify populations of special concern.

I would expect this to translate into pretty much identical regulations for the 2021/2020 season as we already have set for the 2020/2021 season, with some possible exceptions if some “special concerns” come up.

For further details you can check Ducks Unlimited’s article on the cancelation of the Survey at the link below:

So, no Breeding Population and Habitat Survey to peruse this summer for our preview of the upcoming season.  Hopefully, without the USFWS checking on them, the birds will do their spring thing and produce a bumper crop of ducklings that will be ready for us by the time the season rolls around.


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