Wetlands Restoration

The restoration, enhancement and preservation of wetlands are necessary to support black duck populations. While not all wetlands are suitable habitat for black ducks, healthy wetlands support black duck abundance. The Black Duck Action Team is collaborating with the Wetlands Workgroup to identify priorities for protection, restoration and enhancement.

Between 2014 and 2022, 4,310 acres of wetlands were gained within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and 60,666 acres have been enhanced. The new tracking system, the Habitat Tracker, will enable reporting of all created, restored and enhanced wetlands, but there are currently gaps in reported gains and enhancements that apply to black duck habitat. Due to the transition in reporting, some states do not track all their data to the degree of spatial resolution required for data standardization.

Ecosystem Factors

Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, both within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and at other ends of the Atlantic Flyway population’s range, have a large impact on black duck populations. Food availability, a key factor, is affected by competition as well as proximity to developed or otherwise disturbed lands. Other ecosystem factors influencing black duck populations in the Bay watershed include shoreline disturbance (e.g., due to dredging or development), pressure from invasive species and impacts due to climate change (e.g., flooding, salinity changes and salt marsh migration due to sea level rise, shifts in migration patterns or wintering range and changes in weather patterns such as storm intensity and frequency).