2017 Habitat Conditions

In general, habitat conditions during the 2017 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were similar to or improved, with a few exceptions, relative to 2016. The total pond estimate (Prairie Canada and northcentral U.S. combined) was 6.1 ± 0.2 million, which was 22% above the 2016 estimate of 5.0 ± 0.2 million, and 17% higher than the long-term average of 5.2 ± 0.03 million.

Much of the Canadian prairies experienced above-average precipitation and temperatures since June 2016. Abundant moisture delayed spring 2017 agricultural activities, and many crops planted in 2016 remained unharvested, particularly in southern Saskatchewan. The Parklands, while drier than areas farther south, were still benefitting from wet conditions in previous years. The 2017 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 4.3 ± 0.2 million. This estimate was 24% above the 2016 estimate of 3.5 ± 0.1 million and 23% above the long-term average (3.5 ± 0.02 million).

The U.S. prairies experienced average to above-average precipitation but had more variable conditions. Habitat conditions generally improved northward, mainly due to a good frost seal. The 2017 pond estimate for the northcentral U.S. was 1.8 ± 0.09 million, which was 16% above the 2016 estimate of 1.5 ± 0.05 million and similar to the long-term average (1.7 ± 0.02 million).

Download the 2017/2016 Waterfowl Habitat Conditions Comparison Map