Action: Manage wetland water levels for mammal species
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One study evaluated the effects of managing wetland water levels for mammal species. This study was in the USA.
COMMUNITY RESPONSE (0 STUDIES)
POPULATION RESPONSE (1 STUDY)
- Abundance (1 study): A replicated, site comparison study in the USA found that managing wetland water levels to be higher in winter increased the abundance of muskrat houses.
BEHAVIOUR (0 STUDIES)
Some wetland mammal species may benefit from specific management of water levels. Water levels may affect factors such as predation rates, food availability and access to shelter. Management of wetland levels will affect a range of wetland species, so decisions regarding such management should be taken with regard to this full assemblage where possible.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, site comparison study in 2000–2006 at three wetland sites on the St Lawrence River, USA (Toner et al. 2010) found that managing wetland water levels to be higher in winter increased the abundance of muskrat Ondatra zibethicus houses. This result was not analysed for statistical significance. At wetlands where water levels were managed to be higher in winter, muskrat house density was higher (3.0 houses/ha) than in wetlands where water levels were not managed (0.7 houses/ha). At two wetland sites, in 2000–2004 and 2004–2006, water control structures were installed to increase water levels during winter. At a third site, no such structure was installed. Where water levels were not managed, they were lower during winter. Muskrat houses were counted at all sites in winters of 2001–2006, using unspecified methodologies.