Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Presented at Utah Council for Undergraduate Research, February 28, 2014

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Rich Etchberger


We obtained from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 30 years of monthly waterfowl population surveys completed at Pariette Wetlands in the Uintah Basin, Utah between 1980 and 2010. The Pariette Wetlands are the largest wetlands managed by the BLM within the lower-48 states and are comprised of 4,033 acres of land. Pariette Wetlands is surrounded by about 6,000 square miles of land where oil and gas production is the major activity. This waterfowl refuge is a significant location for migrating waterfowl species within the Pacific Flyway and provides important summer habitat for resident waterfowl. Our objectives were to determine what the trends were for waterfowl population abundance, occupancy, and species richness. We analyzed the data for waterfowl population trends for abundance, occupancy, and species richness. We used linear regression to quantify abundance trends. We quantified the probability of occupancy as: # of times a species was present/ # of surveys. We measured species richness for each month as the number of species present during a survey. We also quantified mean monthly species richness to determine annual trends. We found that the abundance of waterfowl is decreasing although Canada Geese and diving ducks are increasing. We found that the occupancy by species is variable between different months and areas within Pariette Wetlands. Biodiversity of waterfowl species is highest in April and nearly all species (of the 17 studied) visit the wetlands each year. Our results are important because oil and gas development is increasing throughout the Western United States. Pariette Wetlands, located in the energy-rich Uintah Basin, is ideally located for future research into the impacts of energy development on wetlands and waterfowl. Also, our findings will provide essential waterfowl population trend information as the BLM completes a revision of their Resource Management Plan for Pariette Wetlands.