The ability to assess habitat quality for wildlife is important for evaluating the effectiveness of, or need for, habitat management.  Habitat assessment methods generally involve a tradeoff between usability and explanatory power and finding the optimal balance can be challenging.  In 2013, Colorado Parks and Wildlife developed a habitat quality rapid assessment method for dabbling ducks (Anatidae) that is used to evaluate wetland management projects.  The assessment involves six multiple-choice questions related to vegetation and wetland structure and is designed to be used by people with little wetland ecology training.  I tested the ability of the assessment to predict duck density and food availability at 44 sites in northeastern Colorado.  I found that the procedure explained 10–22% of the variability in food availability and was not a good predictor of duck density.  By altering the way the answers were grouped, weight of each question, score associated with each answer, and substituting a new question relating to percent coverage of duck food producing plants, the ability of the assessment to explain food availability increased to 30%.  Overall, the assessment may be sufficient for relative indication of habitat quality, but if precise predictions are desired, further refinement is necessary.

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