2011 Pond Numbers

Prairie Canada Pond Numbers

Prairie Canada Pond Numbers

Conditions across the Canadian prairies were greatly improved relative to last year. Building on excellent conditions from 2010 in portions of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the area of excellent conditions in the prairies expanded in 2011, including a region along the Alberta and Saskatchewan border that had been poor for the last two years. The 2011 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 4.9 ± 0.2 million. This was 31% above last year's estimate (3.7 ± 0.2 million) and 43% above the 1961-2010 average (3.4 ± 0.03 million). As expected, residual water from summer 2010 precipitation remained in the parklands and the majority of the area was classified as good. Fair to poor conditions, however, were observed in the parklands of Alberta.

North Central U.S. Pond Numbers

North Central U.S. Pond Numbers

Wetland numbers and conditions were excellent in the U.S. prairies. The 2011 pond estimate for the north-central U.S. was 3.2 ± 0.1 million, which was similar to last year's estimate (2.9 ± 0.1 million) and 102% above the 1974-2010 average (1.6 ± 0.02 million). The eastern U.S. prairies benefited from abundant moisture in 2010 and the entire U.S. prairies experienced above-average winter and spring precipitation in 2010 and 2011, resulting in good to excellent conditions across nearly the entire region. The western Dakotas and eastern Montana were extremely dry in 2010. However, conditions there improved from fair to poor in 2010 to good to excellent in 2011. Further, the abundant moisture and delayed farming operations in the north-central U.S. and southern Canadian prairies likely benefited early-nesting waterfowl.

Total Pond Numbers

Total Pond Numbers

Habitat conditions during the 2011 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were characterized by average to above-average moisture and a normal winter and spring across the entire traditional and eastern survey areas. The exception was a portion of the west-central traditional survey area that had received below-average moisture. The total pond estimate (Prairie Canada and U.S. combined) was 8.1 ± 0.2 million. This was 22% above the 2010 estimate of 6.7 ± 0.2 million ponds, and 62% above the long-term average of 5.0 ± 0.03 million ponds.