Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

WHSRN U.S. National Council


Photo Credit: Tom Vezo
The U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan (Shorebird Plan) recognizes that management and conservation of important shorebird sites is critical for meeting the conservation goals of the plan.  Furthermore, the plan acknowledges the need to consider conservation activities across the full annual cycle, and hence geographic range, of North American shorebird populations.  Site based conservation actions are the foundation from which to build shorebird sustainable landscapes, and many of the conservation actions identified in the Plan focuson actions at the site scale.

As a result of Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network's new strategic direction in March 2004, the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan Council (Shorebird Plan Council) agreed to officially take on responsibilities of implementing the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network strategy in the U.S.  The Council suggested that a WHSRN U.S. Committee (Committee) be formed to address implementation issues.  The Committee operates under the auspices of the Shorebird Plan Council to ensure coordinated implementation of the WHSRN strategic plan and the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan.


The WHSRN U.S. Committee is governed by a chair and vice chair that are approved by the Council.  Current members are listed below.

  • Chair: John Cecil, National Audubon Society
  • Vice Chair: Catherine Hickey, PRBO Conservation Science  
  • Brad Andres, National Coordinator, USSCP
  • Stephen Brown, Manomet
  • Jim Chu, U.S.D.A. Forest Service
  • Bob Gill, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Debbie Hahn, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Sue Haig, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Brian Harrington, Manomet
  • Chuck Hunter, National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Dave Mehlman, The Nature Conservancy
  • Larry Niles, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

General Roles and Responsibilities

The WHSRN strategic plan provided a set of roles and responsibilities for national councils.  To facilitate timely communication and action, roles and responsibilities are divided into those taken directly by the WHSRN US Committee, in collaboration with the WHSRN Coordinating Office, and those taken by, or through, the Shorebird Plan Council.

WHSRN-US Committee

  • Develop an annual work plan that is coordinated and consistent with the overall WSHRN strategic plan.
  • Use regional shorebird working group partners to help identify important shorebird sites that meet biological criteria and solicit nominations of new Network sites.
  • Review site nominations and provide coordinating office with recommendation on acceptance into the Network.
  • Recommend, to the Shorebird Plan Council, a U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan representative to serve on the WHSRN Hemispheric Council.

U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan Council

  • Continue to identify challenges to shorebird conservation, especially those specific to the U.S.
  • Approve and support implementation of the annual work plan by collaborating with site managers and by identifying and pursuing funding sources for accomplishing the work plan.
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration and ensure communication and coordination among Member Sites and Partners
  • Nominate representatives for the Hemispheric Council, Science Advisory Committee, and other ad hoc committees created by the Hemispheric Council.
  • Approve membership, including chairs, of WHSRN US Committee.

U.S. WHSRN Site Nomination Review Process

  • All nominations are first sent to the WHSRN Coordinating Office, which logs them and responds to the nominator with an acknowledgment.  The nomination is then forwarded to the Chair and Vice Chair of the WHSRN U.S. Committee and to the Shorebird Plan's National Coordinator. The review is to be completed in 60 days.

The Chair distributes the nomination to reviewers for recommendations.  If questions about the nomination arise, the Chair will work with the WHSRN Coordinating Office to get additional information or, if needed, technical support.  The review team will vary depending on the site location, but each nomination will be reviewed by three of the five following individuals:

  1. A WHSRN US committee member
  2. The National Coordinator of the Shorebird Plan
  3. The regional shorebird plan coordinator or other regional shorebird biologist
  4. Audubon's State, or National, Important Bird Areas Coordinator, and
  5. A shorebird population biologist to help evaluate the numerical criteria

If all three reviewers are concordant in their opinions about a site, then the site nomination moves forward.  If reviewers are not concordant in their reviews, then two additional reviews are undertaken.  The Chair compiles reviews and forwards an acceptance recommendation to the WHSRN Coordinating Office which, in turn, transmits the nomination recommendation to the Hemispheric Council for final action.

For information on WHSRN-US, contact John Cecil or Brad Andres.

Click here for more information on the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan.