Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network


Ranking scheme for prioritizing species for conservation planning (.xls, 38KB)


Western Sandpiper
Photo Credit: Tom Vezo
The Canadian and U.S. Shorebird Conservation plans (2000 and 2001, respectively) have identified the North American shorebird species of greatest conservation concern. Half (27 of 54) of the species or subspecies regularly occurring in Canada and the U.S are identified in the plans as either Highly Imperiled or as a Species of High Concern. Detailed plans for protecting each species have been lacking up to now, and current levels of conservation action are inadequate to support the goal of self-sustaining, stable populations.

With support from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), WHSRN is catalyzing and supporting species-specific working groups for the shorebird species at greatest risk. This effort is being done cooperatively with shorebird conservation plan teams in countries where they exist, and with other experts from throughout the species' range (North, Central, and/or South America). The groups are charged with producing an initial list of sites likely to be critical for each species, and on-the-ground management activities needed at those sites to provide high-quality habitat. Where possible, other conservation activities and related research needs are identified and prioritized, based on existing information or studies that can be completed in the near term.

The planning teams were formed with the goal of first addressing the most at-risk species, then all remaining high-priority species. The first step is enumerating sites of known importance and priority management activities that can be initiated promptly to benefit the species. This is being done even as the slower work of identifying new sites and an overarching conservation strategy proceeds. For sites identified by working groups that meet the WHSRN criteria, landowners and managers are being contacted and actively encouraged to nominate their site for inclusion in the Network.

Working with the NFWF and other funders, WHSRN seeks to create a substantial conservation fund that will be disbursed to implement these actions once a species plan has been drafted and meets the established standards. Partners will include provincial/state agencies, joint ventures, and conservation NGOs working to improve the conservation status of the target species.


 Species Conservation Plans