2008 Pond Numbers

One of the most important elements in duck breeding success is the amount of water present on the prairie breeding grounds. In 2008, total pond counts for the United States and Canada combined showed 4.4 million ponds, a 37% decrease from the 2007 estimate. Pond numbers for Canada and the United States are also estimated individually.

Prairie Canada Pond Numbers

Prairie Canada Pond Numbers

The 2008 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 3.1 million. This was a 39% decrease from the 2007 estimate (5.0 million), and 11% below the 1955-2007 average (3.4 million). The parklands were drier in 2008 than in 2007 when excess water created much additional waterfowl habitat; still this area was classified as fair to good overall with most seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands full. A late April snowstorm recharged wetlands in some areas of the northern parklands; these were classified as excellent.

North Central U.S. Pond Numbers

North Central U.S. Pond Numbers

The 2008 pond estimate for the north-central U.S. of 1.4 million was 30% below last year’s estimate (2.0 million) and 11% below the long-term average (1.5 million). Following the completion of the survey the Dakotas and neighboring areas experienced several heavy rainfall events. This likely will ease drought conditions and may improve habitat conditions for late nesters or improve the success of re-nesting attempts.

Total Pond Numbers

Total Pond Numbers

The total pond estimate (Prairie Canada and U.S. combined) was 4.4 million. This was 37% below last year’s estimate of 7.0 million ponds and 10% below the long-term average of 4.9 million ponds. The 2008 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 3.1 million. This was a 39% decrease from last year’s estimate (5.0 million), and 11% below the 1955-2007 average (3.4 million). The parklands were drier in 2008 than in 2007 when excess water created much additional waterfowl habitat; still this area was classified as fair to good overall with most seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands full. A late April snowstorm recharged wetlands in some areas of the northern parklands; these were classified as excellent.