Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA
Effect of artificial flooding on the vegetation and avifauna of riparian woodlands at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Hidalgo County, Texas
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. Robert I. Lonard
Dr. Timothy Brush
Dr. Frank W. Judd
Riparian habitats along the Rio Grande at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge have dramatically decreased since the construction of Falcon Dam in 1953. Riparian habitats are dependent on annual or periodic flooding to maintain their biological integrity. Lack of seasonal flooding has contributed to changes in vegetative composition from riparian forests to thornscrub. Effects of artificial flooding on vegetation and avifauna of riparian woodlands were evaluated from 1995-1997 at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Floodwaters caused the destruction of all existing herbaceous species along study transects and the regeneration of new and native seedlings. Avian abundance and diversity dramatically increased during peak flooding months. Water released into riparian woodlands from the Rio Grande was part of a wetland restoration project conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Continued management, involving artificial flooding, is needed to conserve this rare riparian habitat which is in danger of being lost due to lack of seasonal flooding.
University of Texas-Pan American
Copyright 1997 Charles David Castillo. All Rights Reserved.