September Program at Montana WILD!

What: Upper Clark Fork Waterfowl Nesting Project
When: Tues, September 13, 2022 – 7:00PM
Where: Montana Wild, 2668 Broadwater Ave.
Free – All Are Welcome

Hen House Installation

The Upper Clark Fork Valley and Silver Bow Creek were historically a vast wetlands complex which was heavily impacted by industrial-scale mining operations and urbanization. Over the past 20 years, much of this area has undergone drastic changes due to Superfund-related remediation and ecological restoration. Much of this work has, however, overlooked the value and importance of waterfowl and waterfowl habitat. This program will highlight the installation of waterfowl hen tubes. These small structures are installed in wetlands with the goal of providing safe nesting habitat for upland nesting ducks. A duck nesting in a hen house may boost nesting success from 40% – 80% as compared to around 5% for ground nesting ducks. Upland nesting ducks such as mallards, scaup, redhead, goldeneye, and occasionally wood ducks have been documented using this stye of hen house. This pilot project seeks to not only serve as a restorative action to boost waterfowl abundance but also to engage the public perception of the local ecosystem. The project seeks to gain support for a larger-scale expansion in the next year and beyond. Over the 2021-2022 winter, ten hen houses were installed within the Superfund Operable Units.

Our speaker, Mark Mariano, is a restorative ecologist with a background in aquatic ecosystems. He is currently focused on waterfowl ecology in the Upper Clark Fork Valley and waterfowl protection at the Berkeley Pit. He holds a BS in Wildland Restoration from the University of Montana and an MS focusing on restoration ecology from Montana Tech. Mr. Mariano is an affiliate faculty of Montana Tech and is working with a graduate student and other scientists to develop a light goose migration forecast model to aid waterfowl protection at the Berkeley Pit.

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