Regional Wetland Bird Planning by the Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes Joint Venture

Full Title: Regional Wetland Bird Planning by the Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes Joint Venture
Author: Greg Soulliere

Abstract: Bird habitat management is implemented at local scales, but effective conservation of migratory birds involves an understanding and integration of population-level priorities. Bird habitat joint ventures (JVs) step-down priorities from continental conservation plans, like the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, to 22 regional geographies blanketing North America. Conservation agencies and organizations use JV regional priorities, expertise, and financial resources to inform and deliver local management actions. The JV partnerships consist of networks of administrators, bird habitat managers, and scientists, including technical experts who generate estimates of breeding focal species abundances and deficits in JV regions based on continental goals. They also estimate forage needs for birds occurring in JV regions during the non-breeding period and translate those needs into habitat objectives using energy-based models. The UMGLJV used biological models with species life history information to generate breeding habitat objectives for wetland birds using NWI wetland classes (i.e., emergent, aquatic bed, forested, and unconsolidated/open water) and relevant NLCD upland classes (i.e., grassland herbaceous, hardwood forest). For the non-breeding period, the UMGLJV generated habitat objectives using energy values for the same wetland types (4 NWI classes), as well as calculations of forage needs for bird abundances expected to occur in the region during migration and winter periods. Increasingly, the UMGLJV is also integrating social concerns, such as hunting, bird watching, and improving water quality, into conservation design. Whereas habitat-quantity objectives are based on the biological needs of breeding and non-breeding birds, social considerations are used to target habitat retention and restoration in locations that achieve multiple biological and social objectives. Finally, the UMGLJV identifies information gaps and uses assumptions in regional planning, but the JV also financially supports monitoring and research to test planning assumptions and fill information gaps over time. New research information, spatial data, and technical tools result in periodic updates to JV conservation strategies with an iterative process.

This presentation was part of the 17th Emiquon Science Symposium which took place March 30, 2022 as a zoom webinar.
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