||Ducks Unlimited’s Saginaw Bay priority zone in eastern Michigan is highly concentrated
area of wetland habitat patches. A set of criteria to prioritize these wetlands is
needed so that managers can most effectively decide where to focus conservation efforts
in the area. Nesting mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) pairs were chosen as the target
species to base conservation decisions on. A GIS based model was created using a series
on inputs including distance to development, distance to existing reserves, state
acquisition areas, wetland density, the Habitat Evaluation Network, and habitat connectivity.
This model produced a visual representation of the best wetland patches for mallard
populations. It can be easily modified to accommodate different species or criteria,
and can be effectively be used by managers to make future conservation decisions.