Ducks Unlimited Canada
Institute for Wetland & Waterfowl Research
PO Box 1160
Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada
R0C 2Z0

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David Howerter, Ph.D.

(Retired - 2022)

Using scientific information to guide conservation investments.

Dave Howerter is an accomplished scientist with a track record of successfully managing a complex conservation programs, demonstrated ability to build teams, build consensus, and develop partnerships. As a member of DUC’s Executive Leadership Team, Dave is responsible for guiding all conservation programs including habitat conservation, engineering, education, international partnerships, government relations, research and conservation planning.

Dave joined IWWR in 1991 and helped lead prairie-wide studies of demographic responses of upland-nesting ducks to variation in spatial arrangements of habitats, including the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture Assessment. This was a large multi-faceted study that collected novel data on >3,600 radio-marked female mallards, > 19,000 duck nests, and > 900 marked mallard broods.

Trained as a Landscape Ecologist, Dave has worked on projects modeling the spatial distribution and productivity of ducks throughout the prairies and western boreal forest regions of Canada. Dave is the past chair of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) Science Support Team and a former member of the NAWMP Interim Integration Committee.


  • Ph.D., Ecology, Montana State University
  • M.Sc., Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • B.Sc., Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University

Dave’s Publications (organized by year)

Devries, J. H., L. M. Armstrong, D. W. Howerter, and R. B. Emery. In Press. Waterfowl distribution and productivity in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada: Tools for conservation planning. Wildlife Monographs.

Berzins, L.L., C.A. Morrissey, D.W. Howerter, and R.G. Clark. 2022. Conserving wetlands in agroecosystems can sustain aerial insectivore productivity and survival. Canadian Journal of Zoology 100:617-629.

Bortolotti, L.E., R.B. Emery, L.M. Armstrong, and D.W. Howerter. 2022. Landscape composition, climate variability, and their interaction drive water waterfowl nest survival in the Canadian Prairies. Ecosphere 13:e3908.

Zhao, Q., T. W. Arnold, J. H. Devries, D. W. Howerter, R. G. Clark, and M. D. Weegman. 2020. Using integrated population models to prioritize region-specific conservation strategies under global change. Biological Conservation 252:108832.

Mantyka-Pringle, C., L. Leston, D. Messmer, E. Asong, E.M. Bayne, L.E. Bortolotti, G. Sekulic, H. Wheater, D.W. Howerter, and R.G. Clark. 2019. Antagonistic, synergistic and direct effects of land use and climate on prairie wetland ecosystems: Ghosts of the past or present? Diversity and Distributions 25:1924-1940.

Raquel, A.J., J.H. Devries, D.W. Howerter, and R.G. Clark. 2019. Reproductive consequences of climate variability in migratory birds: Evidence for species-specific responses to spring phenology and cross-seasonal effects. Oecologia 191:217-229.

Zhao, Q., T.W. Arnold, J.H. Devries, D.W. Howerter, R.G. Clark, and M.D. Weegman. 2019. Land-use change increases climatic vulnerability of migratory birds: Insights from integrated population modelling. Journal of Animal Ecology 88:1625-1637.

Milling, C.R., S.D. Gehrt, and D.W. Howerter. 2019. From crisis to collaboration: The North American Waterfowl Management Plan continues to evolve. Wildlife Professional 13: 39-43.

Krainyk, A., J.E. Lyons, M.G. Brasher, D.D. Humburg, G.J. Soulliere, J.M. Coluccy, M.J. Petrie, D.W. Howerter, S.M. Slattery, M.B. Rice, and J.C. Fuller. 2019. Spatial integration of biological and social objectives to identify priority landscapes for waterfowl habitat conservation. U.S. Geological Survey open-file report 2019-1029, Reston, Virginia, USA.

Doherty, K.E., D.W. Howerter, J.H. Devries, and J. Walker. 2018. Prairie Pothole Region of North America. Pages 679-688 in C.M. Finlayson, G.R. Milton, R.C. Prentice, and N.C. Davidson, editors. The wetland book volume II. Distribution, description and conservation, Springer, New York, New York, USA.

Fedy, B., J. H. Devries, D. W. Howerter, and J. R. Row. 2018. Distribution of priority grassland bird habitats in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada. Avian Conservation and Ecology 13:4.

Roberts, A., J.M. Eadie, D.W. Howerter, F.A. Johnson, J.D. Nichols, M.C. Runge, M.P. Vrtiska, and B.K. Williams. 2018. Strengthening links between waterfowl research and management. Journal of Wildlife Management 82: 260-265.

Feldman, R.E., M.G. Anderson, D.W. Howerter, and D.L. Murray. 2016. Temporal variability in the way local habitat affects duck population growth. Population Ecology 58:525-533.

Raquel, A.J., J.H. Devries, D.W. Howerter, R.T. Alisaukas, S.W. Leach, and R.G. Clark. 2016. Timing of nesting of upland-nesting ducks in the Canadian Prairies and its relation to spring wetland conditions. Canadian Journal of Zoology 94:575-581.

Doherty, K.E., J.S. Evans, J. Walker, J.H. Devries, and D.W. Howerter. 2015. Building the foundation for international conservation planning for breeding ducks across the U.S. and Canadian border. PLoS ONE 10:e0116735.

Feldman, R.E., M.G. Anderson, D.W. Howerter, and D.L. Murray. 2015. Where does environmental stochasticity most influence population dynamics? An assessment along a regional core-periphery gradient for prairie breeding ducks. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24:896-904.

Howerter, D.W., M.G. Anderson, J.H. Devries, B.L. Joynt, L.M. Armstrong, R.B. Emery, and T.W. Arnold. 2014. Variation in mallard vital rates in Canada Aspen Parklands: The Prairie Habitat Joint Venture assessment. Wildlife Monographs 188:1-37.

Bloom, P.M., R.G. Clark, D.W. Howerter, and L.M. Armstrong. 2013. Multi-scale habitat selection affects offspring survival in a precocial species. Oecologia 173:1249-1259.

Bloom, P.M., D.W. Howerter, R.B. Emery, and L.M. Armstrong. 2013. Relationships between grazing and waterfowl production in the Canadian prairies. Journal of Wildlife Management 77: 534-544.

Garvey, M.E., E. Nol, D.W. Howerter, and L.M. Armstrong. 2013. A spatial analysis of factors affecting nesting success of shorebirds in the Canadian prairies. Condor 115: 58-66.

Arnold, T.W. and D.W. Howerter. 2012. Effects of radiotransmitters and breeding effort on harvest and survival rates of female mallards. Wildlife Society Bulletin 36:286-290.

Arnold, T.W., E.A. Roche, J.H. Devries, and D.W. Howerter. 2012. Costs of reproduction in breeding female mallards: predation risk during incubation drives annual mortality. Avian Conservation and Ecology 7:1.

Bloom, P. M., R. G. Clark, D. W. Howerter, and L. M. Armstrong. 2012. Landscape-level correlates of mallard duckling survival: Implications for conservation programs. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:813-823.

Bloom, P. M., D. W. Howerter, J. H. Devries, L. M. Armstrong, and R. G. Clark. 2012. Radiomarking brood-rearing mallard females: implications for juvenile survival. Wildlife Society Bulletin 36:582–586.

Lieske, D.J., B. Pollard, M. Gloutney, R. Milton, K. Connor, R. Dibblee, G. Parsons, and D. Howerter. 2012. The importance of agricultural landscapes as key nesting habitats for the American black duck in Maritime Canada. Waterbirds 35: 525-534.

Coulton, D.W., R.G. Clark, D.W. Howerter, M.G. Anderson, and L.I. Wassenaar. 2011. Costs and benefits of natal dispersal in yearling mallards Anas platyrhynchos. Journal of Avian Biology 42:123-133.

Coulton, D.W., R.G. Clark, L.I. Wassenaar, D.W. Howerter, and M.G. Anderson. 2011. Social and habitat correlates of immigrant recruitment of yearling female mallards to breeding locations. Journal of Ornithology 152:781-791.

Arnold, T. W., J. H. Devries, and D. W. Howerter. 2010. Factors that affect renesting in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Auk 127:212-221.

Arnold, T.W., A.M. Pagano, J.H. Devries, R.B. Emery, D.W. Howerter, and B.L. Joynt. 2008. Social indices of breeding productivity in parkland mallards. Journal of Wildlife Management 72:224-230.

Brook, R.W., M. Pasitschniak-Arts, D.W. Howerter, and F. Messier. 2008. Influence of rodent abundance on nesting success of prairie waterfowl. Canadian Journal of Zoology 86:497-506.

Devries, J.H., R.W. Brook, D.W. Howerter, and M.G. Anderson. 2008. Effects of spring body condition and age on reproduction in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Auk 125:618–628.

Howerter, D. W., J. J. Rotella, M. G. Anderson, L. M. Armstrong, and J. H. Devries. 2008. Mallard nest-site selection in an altered environment: predictions and patterns. Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution 54:437–460

Prairie Habitat Joint Venture. 2008. Prairie Habitat Joint Venture implementation plan 2007 – 2012. Report of the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture. Environment Canada, Edmonton, Canada.

Arnold, T.W., L.M. Craig-Moore, L.M. Armstrong, D.W. Howerter, J.H. Devries, B.L. Joynt, R.B. Emery, and M.G. Anderson. 2007. Waterfowl use of dense nesting cover in the Canadian prairie parklands. Journal of Wildlife Management 71:2542-2549.

Larivière, S., D. Howerter, and F. Messier. 2007. Influence of gender and den type on home range shape for striped skunks, Mephitis, in Saskatchewan. Canadian Field-Naturalist 121:261-264.

Raven, G.H., L.M. Armstrong, D.W. Howerter, and T.W. Arnold. 2007. Wetland selection by mallard broods in Canada’s prairie-parklands. Journal of Wildlife Management 71:2527-2531.

Raven, G.H., T.W. Arnold, D.W. Howerter, and L.M. Armstrong. 2007. Mallard brood movements in the Canadian prairie parklands. Prairie Naturalist 39:1-13.

Emery, R.B., D.W. Howerter, L.M. Armstrong, M.G. Anderson, J.H. Devries, and B.L. Joynt. 2005. Seasonal variation in waterfowl nesting success and its relation to cover management in the Canadian prairies. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:1181-1193.

Thorn, T.D., R.B. Emery, D.W. Howerter, J.H. Devries, and B.L. Joynt. 2005. Use of radio-telemetry to test for investigator effects on nesting mallards, Anas platyrhynchos. Canadian Field-Naturalist 119:541-545.

Devries, J.H., J.J. Citta, M.S. Lindberg, D.W. Howerter, and M.G. Anderson. 2003. Breeding season survival of mallard hens in the prairie pothole region of Canada. Journal of Wildlife Management 67:551-563.

Howerter, D. W. 2003. Factors affecting duck nesting in the aspen parklands: a spatial analysis. Dissertation, Montana State University, Bozeman, USA.

Mack, G.G., R.G. Clark, and D.W. Howerter. 2003. Size and habitat composition of female mallard home ranges in the prairie-parkland region of Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 1454-1461.

Hoekman, S.T., L.S. Mills, D.W. Howerter, J.H. Devries, and I.J. Ball. 2002. Sensitivity analysis of the life cycle of mid-continent mallards. Journal of Wildlife Management 66:883-900.

Arnold, T.W., D.W. Howerter, J. H. Devries, B.L. Joynt, R.B. Emery, and M.G. Anderson. 2002. Continuous laying and clutch size limitation in mallards. Auk 119:261-266.

Howerter, D. and L. Moats. 1999. A GIS-based approach to predicting wetland drainage and wildlife habitat loss in the prairie pothole region of south-central Canada. Environmental problem solving with geographic information systems: conference proceedings. EPA/625/R-00/010.

Howerter, D. W., B. L. Joynt, R. B. Emery, and T. P. Sankowski. 1997. Effects of nasal discs on nesting by mallards. Journal of Field Ornithology 68:1-6.

Paquette, G.A., J. H. Devries, R.B. Emery, D.W. Howerter, B.L. Joynt, and T.P. Sankowski. 1997. Effects of transmitters on reproduction and survival of wild mallards. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:953-961.

Connery, D. R., E. A. Cloutis, T. P. Sankowski, J. H. Devries, D. W. Howerter, and F. J. Dover. 1996. Evaluation of airborne multispectral imagery for mapping wetland habitats and vegetation communities: Camp Lake assessment site, Alberta. Proceedings of the 18th Symposium of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society, Vancouver, Canada.

Howerter, D. W., R. B. Emery, B. L. Joynt, and K. L. Guyn. 1996. Mortality of mallard ducklings exiting from electrified predator exclosures. Wildlife Society Bulletin 24:673-680.

Rotella, J. J., J. H. Devries, and D. W. Howerter. 1995. Evaluation of methods for estimating density of breeding female mallards. Journal of Field Ornithology 66:391-399.

Morton, J. M., R. L. Kirkpatrick, D. W. Howerter, T. H. Eason, and C. M. Long. 1994. Depletion of lipid, lean, and ash masses in food-restricted American black ducks. Canadian Journal of Zoology 72:1492-1496.

Rotella, J. J., D. W. Howerter, T. P. Sankowski, and J. H. Devries. 1993. Nesting effort by wild mallards with 3 types of radio transmitters. Journal of Wildlife Management 57:690-695.

Howerter, D. 1991. Assessing the NAWMP program on the prairies. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 71:70-74.

Howerter, D. W. 1990. Movements and bioenergetics of canvasbacks wintering in the upper Chesapeake Bay. Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, USA.

Morton, J. M., D. W. Howerter, and R. L. Kirkpatrick. 1989. Application of a habitat suitability model for wintering black ducks. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the South Eastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 43:430-436.