THE EFFECT OF COMMON REED ON RIVER OTTER HABITAT USE
January 2006 - December 2010
- Nebraska Game and Parks
The recent invasion of Phragmites australis (common reed) in the Big Bend region of the Platte River has made the need to examine its potential effects on river otters more critical. The ability of P. australis to rapidly alter the landscape could have large affects on a population that may still be vulnerable, such as river otters. Using locations from radio tagged river otters (Lontra canadensis) along the central Platte River in conjunction with GIS, this study will determine if otters use river ways with P. australis, or if otter den use in areas with P. australis is more or less than expected relative to availability, and will identify any differences in otter use of areas before and after P. australis treatments. This study will increase our understanding of the effects of this invasive plant on river otters—a flagship species for non-game conservation. Data collection ended in December of 2009 with eighteen otters successfully implanted with transmitters and over one thousand locations being recorded. The data is currently being analyzed and will be completed in December of 2010.