Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas, USA has been designated by the Ramsar convention as a Wetland of International Importance. However, since that 1988 designation, cattail (Typha spp.) has become the dominant plant within the basin, and migratory bird use has decreased. We examined the effects of different cattail-management treatments (burned, disked, and grazed by 5 and 20 head of cattle) on macroinvertebrates used as food resources by migratory birds. We found few differences in diversity, biomass, or density of macroinvertebrates among treatments. When differences existed, diversity, biomass, and density were greater within the control or more heavily vegetated treatments (e.g., burned) than within less vegetated treatments (e.g., disked). Macroinvertebrate densities, particularly Chironomidae, ranged from 154 to 681/m2; however, they were up to seven times lower than historic densities and well below the 5000/m2 that has been suggested for supporting large numbers (0.5 million) of migratory waterbirds. Thus, Cheyenne Bottoms' capacity to support migratory waterbirds may currently be reduced due to low macroinvertebrate densities in areas where cattail has invaded, as well as in areas where cattail has been managed. Research and management should be targeted at restoring the hydrology and dependent biotic communities that support migratory birds.
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