Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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    Mottled Duck Brood

    Mottled Duck
    Photo courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Conserving the mottled duck in Louisiana and Texas

Formal Title: Spatially-Explicit Decision Support Tool for Guiding Habitat Conservation for Western Gulf Coast Mottled Ducks

Research Focus: Mottled duck (Anas fulvigula)

Conservation & Management Challenges:

The mottled duck, a focal species for the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, is one of only a few duck species adapted to breeding in southern marshes. A major part of its population spends its entire life cycle within a relatively small coastal area in eastern Texas and western Louisiana. This is a thriving part of the Mississippi and Central Flyways, two of four major waterfowl migration routes in North America. In recent years, the mottled duck’s habitat and surrounding areas have been compromised by urbanization, agricultural development, and changes to the area’s hydrology affecting coastal wetlands. The latter threat includes the ramifications of climate change, such as sea level rise and atypically variable precipitation patterns. Survey data suggest the mottled duck population has experienced a long-term decline in Texas and is stable-to-declining across the rest of its range.

Research Overview:

Developing this science is a priority for the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The project involves developing a computer modeling tool to help prioritize habitat conservation for the mottled duck. The tool will help partners target habitat areas that are most likely to boost the duck’s breeding success, at the same time benefitting a dozen other grassland- and wetland-dependent species throughout the area. It also will help Texas and Louisiana advance a more unified approach to mottled duck conservation.


View the Mottled Duck Habiat Conservation Decision Support Tool webinar presentation

Access Mottled Duck DST project reports on ScienceBase


The 2-year-year project was initiated in 2012 and completed in 2014. It is being funded by the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative.


Principal Investigator: Bart Ballard, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University—Kingsville, MSC 218, 700 University Boulevard, Kingsville, TX 78363

Landscape Conservation Cooperative Point-of-Contact: Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506

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