SREL Reprint #1845

 

 

 

 

Wading bird use of established and newly created reactor cooling reservoirs at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina, USA


Keith L. Bildstein1, Dale E. Gawlik1, Dan P. Ferral1, I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr 2 & Gary R. Wein 3
1Department of Biology, Winthrop College, Rock Hill, South Carolina 29733, USA
2Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802, USA
3Department of' Biology, Memphis State University, Memphis, Tennessee 38152, USA

Abstract

We compared wading bird use of a newly created 405-ha reactor cooling reservoir (L-Lake) at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina, with that of two similar > 25-year-old reservoirs (1130-ha Par Pond and 87-ha Pond B) at the same site. L-Lake was constructed in 1984-1985 and filled in late 1985. Approximately 25 % of the shoreline of L-Lake was planted with lacustrine vegetation in early 1987 in an attempt to speed the establishment of a self-sustaining balanced biological community (BBC) at the reservoir. Even so, during the course of our studies, L-Lake had considerably less wetland vegetation, especially floating-leaved species such as yellow nelumbo (Netumbo lutea), than did either of the two older reservoirs.

Sixty-three surveys of the avian communities using the three reservoirs were conducted between fall of 1987 and summer of 1989. These surveys indicated that (1) at least seven species of wading birds (order: Ciconilformes) used L-Lake, (2) wading bird density was higher at L-Lake than at the other two reservoirs, (3) wading birds represented a higher proportion of the total avian community at L-Lake than at the other two, older reservoirs, and (4) wading birds at L-Lake used planted portions of the shoreline more than unplanted portions. We suggest that the inter-reservoir differences we observed represent a 'trophic upsurge' (sensu O'Brien, 1990) resulting from the increased availability of fishes at L-Lake compared with the two older reservoirs.

Key words: Wading birds, Ciconiiformes, reservoirs, lacustrine vegetation, wetland vegetation, macrophytes, standing dead timber, fishes, predator-prey interactions

SREL Reprint #1845

Bildstein, K.L., D.E. Gawlik, D.P. Ferral, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and G.R. Wein. 1994. Wading bird use of established and newly created reactor cooling reservoirs at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina, USA. Hydrobiologia 279/280:71-82.

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