US Fish and Wildlife Cancels Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey for Second Year

For the second year in a row the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have canceled their annual joint Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey.  Despite the falling number of cases, and the now widely available vaccinations, the stated reason for the cancelation is due to safety concerns over Covid-19.

The survey, which historically has been taken every year in the spring from 1955 to 2019, is used to estimate breeding populations and make management decisions for waterfowl.

This will have no effect on the 2021/2022 season regulations.  Since no survey was conducted last year, as it was canceled for the 2020/2021 season, the regulations were based on habitat conditions and population estimates from the 2019 breeding season. 

To set regulations for the 2022/2023 season the USFWS will utilize the long-term data and models to predict the 2021 spring populations and habitat conditions instead of the survey data.

The USFWS expects that the 2022/2023 regulations will be, in general, similar to the 2021/2022 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, for us at least, will translate into pretty much identical regulations for the 2022/2023 season as we already have set for the 2021/2022 season, with some possible exceptions if some “special concerns” come up.  Once again, I’m pretty sure we can expect a one Pintail limit.  No chance for an increase there until the 2023/2024 season now.

For further details you can check the questions and answers document posted by the USFW explaining the reasons for the cancellation.

So, once again no Breeding Population and Habitat Survey to check out this summer for a preview of the upcoming season.  We can only the ducks will do what nature intended and produce a bunch of those little fuzz-ball ducklings that will grow up and be ready for us by the time the season begins.


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