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Title: A comparison of plant succession and bird utilization on diked and undiked dredged material islands in North Carolina estuaries
Authors: Parnell, James F.
DuMond, David M.
Needham, Robert N.
Keywords: Estuarine ecology
Island ecology
Estuaries--North Carolina
Dredged material
Dredging spoil
Publisher: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station
Series/Report no.: Technical Report (Dredged Material Research Program (U.S.)) ; no. D-78-9
Abstract: This project consisted of a comparison of plant succession and bird utilization on diked and undiked dredged material islands in North Carolina estuaries. After a site is diked, deposition of dredged material may be delayed for several years or it may occur immediately. Unfilled diked islands that were studied had a complex topographic zonation. Plant succession was highly variable on these unfilled sites, with topography, substrate particle size, and availability of water being major causative factors. Plant succession on diked and filled sites was similar to that on undiked islands except that dikes tended to vegetate more quickly than did the deposits on outer portions of undiked sites. Only the least and gull-billed terns were found nesting predominantly on diked sites, with most nesting gulls and terns locating the majority of their breeding colonies on undiked sites. Fifteen to 30 years will be required for thickets suitable for wading bird colonies to develop on diked islands in North Carolina. Based on observations in New Jersey, it is expected that wading birds will use diked sites when appropriate habitat becomes available. No positive values of dikes relative to nesting colonial birds were discovered. One hundred forty-two species of shorebirds, waterfowl, and land birds were recorded on diked islands, while 94 species were found on undiked sites. Heaviest use was during fall migration. The increased avian diversity of diked over undiked sites paralleled the increased temporary diversity of habitats on diked sites. Habitat diversity is expected to decrease on mature diked islands as such sites continue to receive dredged material. Such mature islands will likely not be as suitable for nesting colonial birds as either undiked or young diked islands. It is recommended that diking not be used on islands heavily used by nesting waterbirds or wading birds. Appendices A-D present soils, vegetation, bird, and cartographic data, respectively.
Description: Technical Report
Gov't Doc #: Technical Report D-78-9
Rights: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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