A Quick Method To Assess Streamside Wood Duck Breeding Habitat

In response to a need for information on wood duck habitat in north Alabama for use in a TVA regional land-use planning report, a quick method of assessing overall streamside breeding habitat was developed and executed in 1970. Biologists from TVA and the Alabama Department of Conservation participated. All streams large enough to be noted on each road map of the II counties were visited at all points crossed by roads. The immediate habitat was rated as good, fair, or poor and! or none. The following criteria were used: Good: Wide mix of 14" + dbh hardwoods, overmature trees visible, little human disturbance. Fair: Good mix of hardwoods up to 14", few overmature trees, some human activity. Poor and! or Non-habitat: Hardwoods generally 10" or less, high human activity; or habitat destroyed. Results of the survey are given in Table I. Nearly 1,600 miles of such streams were visited in approximately two manmonths' time. Twenty-one percent was .rated good; 28 percent fair; and 51 percent poor or non-habitable for wood ducks throughout the II-county north Alabama area. Habitat in individual counties ranged from Jackson County's 55 percent good to DeKalb's 87 percent poor and! or non-habitat rating. About one man-month of office time was required to compute mileage of streams surveyed by habitat class (including mileage of streams not surveyed). Extra copies of maps were made for TVA and Alabama Department of Conservation files, adding another Y2 man-month of extra work.

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