Starting in December of 1988, the Lloyd Center began using waterbird surveys of Allens Pond estuary in Dartmouth to assess the importance of the system to American Black Ducks (Anas rubripes), a migratory “dabbling duck” species that relies almost exclusively on estuaries for food during winter. Many other waterfowl species flock to coastal water bodies during winter when freshwater freezes over further north.
Through time a regional assessment of all waterfowl utilizing flowing estuaries and coastal ponds from the Sakonnet River in Rhode Island to Apponagansett Bay in Dartmouth evolved and became the “Annual Lloyd Center Winter Waterfowl Survey”. This survey includes twenty-one systems within the towns of Dartmouth and Westport in MA, and Tiverton and Little Compton in RI. Habitats represented include tidally unrestricted estuaries (four rivers), tidally unrestricted salt marshes (four marshes), restricted estuaries (four ponds, one marsh), intermittently flooded salt ponds (seven salt ponds), and ponds containing mostly freshwater (two ponds).