Integrated damage management reduces grazing of wild rice by resident Canada geese in New Jersey


  • Associate Editor: Haukos.


Tidal freshwater marshes of the Maurice River, New Jersey, USA, have been long renowned for robust stands of wild rice (Zizania aquatica). During the 1990s, these marshes experienced an apparent decline in wild rice. During 2000–2002, I used paired fenced exclosures and open control plots to measure herbivory by the Atlantic Flyway Resident Population of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) on wild rice and response of rice to an integrated damage management program (IDMP). The IDMP consisted of rendering goose nests unhatchable, shooting, and culling molting geese. The IDMP reduced the number of goslings by 60% during the first year and essentially eliminated recruitment during the second year. Prior to the IDMP, grazing by geese reduced the density of rice by 78% and the height of plants surviving grazing by 17%. With implementation of an IDMP, rice density between exclosures and control plots did not differ. Wetland managers should consider the grazing impacts that resident population Canada geese can incur on native plant communities and develop a plan for mitigating that damage. © 2014 The Wildlife Society.