Waterbird Productivity at Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is one of the most important breeding and migratory sites for waterbirds (e.g. waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds) within the western hemisphere.  Recent reports of heavy metal contamination, habitat loss and fragmentation have many residents, sports enthusiasts, and wildlife managers concerned about the population health of these species.  The conservation of bird populations depends on acquiring breeding biology information to estimate population health and predict the vulnerability of species to habitat change and contamination. 

The Avian Ecology Lab initiated a large-scale research program to monitor and assess the current breeding productivity of waterbirds at nine sites within the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem.  This project is monitoring breeding productivity and habitat conditions using a standardized sampling protocol.  This will allow:

  1. Identification of species' breeding requirements
  2. Assessment of current population health
  3. Projection of species vulnerability to habitat change

Breeding Productivity of Shorebirds at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge