Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Lester D. Flake

Second Advisor

Paul A. Vons, Jr.


Wetland distribution and utilization by breeding waterfowl of stockdams, dugouts, and natural wetlands were investigated in South Dakota during 1973 and 1974. Wetlands in South Dakota were estimated to encompass 590,499 ha and to total 631,557 basins. Natural ponds and lakes comprised 74.7 percent of the wetland area and 46.0 percent of the total number. Stockdams composed 13.9 percent of the wetland area and 14.0 percent of the number, and dugouts 0.3 percent and 8.1 percent of the state’s wetland area and number respectively. Ninety-one percent of the ponds and lakes were found east of the Missouri River and 86.7 percent of the stockdams were found west of the Missouri River. Higher numbers of indicated breeding waterfowl pairs per wet basin and per hectare of surface water, for a given wetland class, were generally found east of the Missouri River (East River) in the state as compared with west of the Missouri River (West River). Densities of breeding waterfowl were generally highest on class III and IV ponds, stockdams, and dugouts. Dugouts associated with other wetlands had higher waterfowl use in most cases than dugouts which were not associated with other wetlands. Drought conditions during 1974 caused a reduction in breeding pair numbers from 1973 on all wetland classes except class V lakes, and a reduction in wet basins and surface water on most wetland classes. Class III and IV ponds and stockdams were used by a large segment of most waterfowl populations throughout the study. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and American wigeon (Anas crecca) populations in 1973 and mallard, pintail (Anas acuta), American wigeon, and northern shoveler (Anas clypeata) populations in 1974 used stockdams extensively. Blue-winged teal (Anas discors), gadwall (Anas strepera), green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis), wood duck (Aix sponsa), canvasback (Aythya valisneria), redhead (Aythya Americana), lesser scaup (Aythya affinis), and ringneck (Aythya collaris) were most often associated with class III and IV ponds in 1973 and 1974. Stockdams were used by a larger segment of all populations in 1974 than in 1973, while the proportion of ducks using natural ponds and lakes decreased from 1973 to 1974. Stockdams were used by diving ducks only during the drought year of 1974. Federally funded wetland drainage in South Dakota for 1936 to 1974 was estimated to encompass 98,306 ha. Records of privately funded drainage are wanting and an estimate of the total area drained is not available.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Waterfowl -- South Dakota
Wetlands -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-45)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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