Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

WHSRNews: 12 July 2011 (in full)

In this issue: 12 July 2011

  • WHSRN Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Delaware Bay’s Designation
  • New WHSRN Site in Argentina: Bahía Samborombón
  • WHSRN Designation Helps Communities in Colombia
  • New Law Protects and Celebrates Shorebirds in Rio Negro Province, Argentina
  • Chile: Conserving Shorebirds on Chiloé Island through Social Marketing
  • New, Sharper Declines Reported for Red Knots
  • Highlights from WHSRN Hemispheric Council’s Annual Meeting
  • Highlights from the 2nd Meeting of the Red Knot Working Group
  • Manomet Scientists Receive Funding for U.S. Gulf Shorebird Recovery
  • NMBCA Grants: Making a Difference for Migratory Shorebirds
  • Brad Winn Migrates from Georgia to Massachusetts – then to the Arctic!
  • Best Wishes to Paul Schmidt, WHSRN Hemispheric Council Member


WHSRN Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Delaware Bay’s Designation

On 9 May, more than 200 people from throughout the Western Hemisphere gathered in Bivalve, New Jersey [USA], to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Delaware Bay's designation as a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance. Hosted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences’ WHSRN Executive Office and a coalition of Delaware Bay conservation partners, the event highlighted the continuing importance of the Bay for migrating shorebirds, especially the imperiled rufa subspecies of Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa). 

As a major stopover for birds traveling from Tierra del Fuego in southernmost South America to James Bay in northern Canada, what happens here is of hemispheric importance, and consequence. With that in mind, and in light of recent data showing more severe and widespread declines for several shorebird species, celebratory remarks were accompanied by a “call to action.”

The event’s unique location, on the docks of the restored oyster shipping sheds and wharves of the Bayshore Discovery Project, reminded us too of the Bay’s importance in shaping and sustaining local, regional, and state economies—historically and currently. The diversity of partners gathered on the docks, from shorebird scientists to investment bankers, mirrored a local and global awareness that ensuring the biological and economic health of the Bay is essential to everyone’s future. Keynote speaker Henry Paulson, Jr., conservationist and 74th Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, summarized it best in saying that genuine economic growth is impossible without a healthy ecosystem.

Fellow distinguished speakers included:

Henry M. Paulson, Jr. reminded us that genuine economic growth is impossible without a healthy ecosystem. / WHSRN Executive Office

Hon. Frank A. LoBiondo, U.S. Congressman,
New Jersey’s 2nd District

Phillip M. Hoose, Conservationist and National Book Award winner, and author of forthcoming book for young readers:
B-95: A Year in the Life of the Moonbird

Mike Hudson
, Founder, Friends of the Red Knot

Lic. Patricia González
, Wetlands Coordinator,
Fundación Inalafquen, Argentina

Pete Dunne
, Chief Communications Officer,
New Jersey Audubon Society

Lillian Trapper
, Land Use Plan Coordinator, Lands & Resources, Moose Cree First Nation

Rodrigo Azócar
(presentation by video), General Manager, ENAP-Chilean National Petroleum Company, winner of the
2010 Pablo Canevari Award for outstanding commitment
to shorebird conservation

Larry Niles, Ph.D.
, Chief Biologist,
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

Delaware Bay was also the first site in the Network, therefore the anniversary event was an opportunity to celebrate and honor the visionaries and pioneers who, in the mid 1980s, developed the bold idea to connect a network of sites across the Americas dedicated to conserving shorebirds. When one considers this was proposed in the pre-Internet days of typewriters, phone books, and fax machines, “bold” is putting it mildly!

By 1986, biologists, citizens, and political leaders had worked together successfully to officially recognize Delaware Bay—with its more than 400,000 acres of wetlands—as a WHSRN site. In May, the Bay was dedicated as such by proclamation of the then-Governors of New Jersey (Thomas Kean) and Delaware (Michael Castle). Since then, this international conservation strategy has become widely recognized as the most effective flyway-scale shorebird network in the world. Today it includes hundreds of partners in 85 sites and 13 countries, from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of Patagonia.

We were honored to have in attendance the following visionaries and pioneers of WHSRN:

George Finney, Bird Studies Canada
Patricia González, Fundación Inalafquen, Argentina
Brian A. Harrington, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
Pete McLain, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, retired
R.I. Guy Morrison, Environment Canada
J.P. “Pete” Myers, Environmental Health Network

And wish to recognize those who could not be with us:

Paulo Antas, Brazil / Daniel Blanco, Argentina / Enrique Bucher, Argentina /
Gonzalo Castro, USA / Peter Hicklin, Canada / Linda Leddy, USA / Thomas Lovejoy, USA /
Luís Germán Naranjo, Colombia / Inês de Lima Serrano, Brazil /
Julie Sibbing, USA / Peter Stangel, USA

Read/download the event program (PDF, 2 MB)

In the days and weeks following the celebration, the WHSRN Executive Office received many calls and emails from partners and other attendees sharing their positive impressions from the event and even its effect on them. A common theme to the feedback, and any organizer’s dream, was that participants had a meaningful experience that not only raised awareness but inspired action and lasting interest. We thank Cindy Randazzo of New Jersey for allowing us to share the following example of that with you:

Delaware Bay is a critical stopover for long-distance migratory shorebirds such as these Red Knots and Dunlins./ © Andrew Harper

"I attended the Bayshore 25th anniversary celebration a week ago not understanding the plight of our shore birds nor the critical role our New Jersey shores play in their survival. Last night I took a chance and went to visit Mandy Dey to see the horseshoe crabs on a beach in Middle Township, only to stay over and witness for the first time the cannon net capture, the banding, measuring, and weighing of several species of shore birds. It is an experience I will never forget.

Part of the flock,

Cindy Randazzo
Director, Office of Local Government Assistance
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection"

The WHSRN Delaware Bay 25th Anniversary celebration was made possible through generous contributions of time and funds by a coalition of partners and volunteers throughout the region. Full acknowledgements are available in the event program (PDF, 2 MB).

For more information, please contact Charles Duncan [cduncan@manomet.org], Executive Director, WHSRN Executive Office at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, or Larry Niles [larry.niles@gmail.com], Chief Biologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.




New WHSRN Site in Argentina: Bahía Samborombón

WHSRN welcomes Bahía Samborombón in Argentina, the 85th site in the Network!

During its annual meeting this May, the WHSRN Hemispheric Council unanimously approved the nomination of Bahía Samborombón in Argentina as a WHSRN Site of International Importance. With this designation, we celebrate Bahía Samborombón as the 85th site in the network, and the 5th in Argentina!

The 250,000-hectare site, located on the east coast of Buenos Aires Province, is administered by the provincial government’s Directorate of Natural Protected Areas as the “Bahía Samborombón Wildlife Refuge.” It includes 118 private properties devoted primarily to raising livestock. More than 100,000 shorebirds, including 11% of the global population of Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis), rely annually on the bay’s coastal and grassland habitats during long-distance migrations.

Bahía Samborombón’s designation as a WHSRN Site carries a special significance for us because it fulfills a desire of the late Pablo Canevari, former WHSRN Director and a native of Argentina, who long ago championed the importance of this site for shorebirds. The bay is also recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and contains two designated Important Bird Areas.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper
(Tryngites subruficollis)

It is our pleasure to congratulate and welcome our new WHSRN partners at Bahía Samborombón: the Directorate of Natural Protected Areas of the Province of Buenos Aires and its Provincial Sustainable Development Organization; the National Parks Administration; the City of La Costa; and the many private landowners committed to shorebird conservation in and around the bay!

For more information, contact Ricardo Cañete [anp@opds.gba.gov.ar], Director, Natural Protected Areas Directorate of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, (54) 221-4253875. 



WHSRN Designation Helps Communities in Colombia

Community members work together to identify the greatest threats to their natural resources. / Courtesy of Asociación Calidris

There are nine communities comprising approximately 1,000 people within the Iscuandé River delta on the western coast of Colombia. Fishing along the river and collecting mollusks from the mangroves are essential for their subsistence and to the local economy. In a capacity-building workshop coordinated in 2009 by the bird conservation organization Asociación Calidris, the community members identified a lack of basic sanitation as one of the gravest threat to their resources and, in turn, their way of life. During that same time period, the 4,000-hectare (9,880-acre) Delta del Río Iscuandé was designated a WHSRN Site of Regional Importance, further focusing the communities’ attention on the health of the delta for their “avian neighbors” as well. 

The communities made it a priority in the short term to find sanitation solutions that would improve their quality of life and also benefit shorebirds and the delta’s biodiversity. With a grant from the Wetlands for the Future Fund (facilitated by the Ramsar Secretariat, U.S. State Department, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Asociación Calidris worked with fishermen, housewives, teachers, and community leaders to gather baseline diagnostic information on sanitation issues. They also developed educational outreach materials to raise awareness about what individuals could do to help resolve community-wide problems.

Project leaders and communities are now seeing the fruits of their hard work. Environmental conditions and residents’ quality of life within the WHSRN site are improving, and the connection between the two is more tangible than it was just two years ago. Their efforts continue, with goals for building local capacity to implement more technical water treatment solutions and solid waste management.

Western Sandpipers (Calidris mauri) resting at Delta del Río Iscuandé, Colombia / Courtesy of Asociación Calidris

In an article about this project on its website, Asociación Calidris reflects on a few lessons learned that may be insightful to partners at other WHSRN sites. When endeavoring to link an  improvement in quality of life with conservation, it is essential to begin with a diagnostic workshop that allows the community to explain and understand the situation for themselves. Providing an educational process through which to identify and prioritize problems together is key to the success of whatever actions may follow. This approach also enables the project leaders to see and understand the situation from the communities’ perspective and, in turn, be able to better assess and discern appropriate solutions.


Read the full article (in Spanish)

For more information, please contact Patricia Falk (pfalk@calidris.org.co), Education Coordinator, Asociación Calidris, or Fernando Castillo (calidris@calidris.org.co), Director, Asociación Calidris and member of the WHSRN Hemispheric Council.



New Law Protects and Celebrates Shorebirds in Rio Negro Province, Argentina

 Courtesy of Fundación Inalafquen

This March at the Bahía San Antonio WHSRN Site of International Importance, partners were busy developing some of the activities for the site’s first "Shorebird Festival," organized by the Inalafquen Foundation. All awaited the landing of a group of more than 2,000 Red Knots (Calidris canutus) in the intertidal habitat of this bay. Meanwhile, in the city of Viedma, the capital of Rio Negro Province, legislators listened to Provincial Deputy María Inés Maza introduce the text of a new law on behalf of these birds. The law, which declares the conservation of shorebirds and their wetland habitats to be in the "provincial interest," was approved during the legislative session on March 17.

In general, the law prohibits the modification of wetlands that are critical for the conservation of migratory shorebirds, and created “Migratory Shorebird Week" which, from now on, will be celebrated annually during the second week of March under the auspices of the Rio Negro Legislature. Deputy Maria Inés Maza noted, "The Rio Negro Province plays a key role in the migration of Red Knots and other coastal shorebird species. It offers extensive marshes and tidal flats that provide birds with optimal conditions for resting and feeding after strenuous travel. This marks the significant value that these environments posses, and the global responsibility we have for their conservation and use."

This valuable new province-wide recognition follows two previously approved declarations of similar character in 2010: one by the House of Representatives in the Santa Cruz Province and another by the National House of Representatives of Argentina. The latter declared the work being carried by WHSRN regarding the conservation of shorebirds and their habitats to be "of national interest" for the country (2010).

Shorebirds at Bahía San Antonio WHSRN Site. / Courtesy of Fundación Inalafquen

These legal accomplishments were developed and managed under the leadership of the WHSRN Argentine National Council as part of its 2010-2012 Action Plan. Council members have taken the lead on enacting provisions in each of their provinces that promote the protection of shorebirds and the habitats they need along their migration routes.

We applaud the team at Inalafquen Foundation for this great achievement in Rio Negro Province, and express our most sincere appreciation to the director, Mirta Carbajal, for her great leadership!

For more information, contact Diego Luna Quevedo (diego.luna@manomet.org), Southern Cone Program Coordinator, Shorebird Recovery Project, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.



Chile: Conserving Shorebirds on Chiloé Island through Social Marketing

During the last week of June, in the City of Ancud on the Island of Chiloé, off southern Chile, 30 people participated in the workshop “Social Marketing: a Concept and Tool for Conserving Migratory Shorebirds on Chiloé.” They represented national and local nongovernmental organizations, municipalities, small tourism operators, the Ministry of Environment, school teachers, and community organizations, among others. 

Chiloé Island workshop participants (front row, second from left: Rafael Calderón). / Courtesy of Diego Luna Quevedo (front row, far right).

This workshop was carried out as part of the actions identified in the Migratory Shorebird Conservation Plan for Chiloé Island. The Plan was developed under the leadership of Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences on behalf of a coalition of international organizations, with funding from Packard Foundation. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce participants to social marketing as a concept and a tool, per the methodology for “Pride campaigns” developed by the international conservation organization Rare. The workshop explored the possibility for such a campaign on Chiloé to help conserve shorebirds. The Humedales Orientales de Chiloé (Eastern Wetlands of Chiloé) is a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance.

 From 2008 to 2010, Rare and Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project facilitated, co-financed, and gave guidance to local partners in carrying out Pride campaigns in three WHSRN sites in Patagonia. These campaigns promoted the conservation of the rufa subspecies of Red Knot (Calidris canutus), which has been experiencing serious population declines. The campaigns all achieved positive results and valuable teachings on protecting critical habitats for this and other shorebirds, removing barriers and threats, and promoting a sense of pride within the communities that live in these important shorebird areas.

Diego Luna Quevedo, Southern Cone Program Coordinator for Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project, says “social marketing has been a real discovery for local partners and stakeholders involved in the Conservation Plan we are implementing on Chiloé, and has inspired them to continue ‘selling’ the social benefits of conserving shorebirds in their communities.”

Chiloé Island hosts 40% of the world's population of Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica). / © Pablo Petracci

For Rafael Calderón, Director of Pride Campaigns in Latin America for Rare, the workshop was “a valuable experience that allowed us to bring to light and identify possible approaches and opportunities for designing Pride campaigns here that would focus specifically on the conservation of migratory shorebirds. For us, this is an interesting challenge for our methodology.” 

In the coming weeks, Manomet and Rare will sign a cooperative agreement to ensure sustainability for this effort, capitalizing on both organizations’ experiences and lessons learned from working together on social marketing campaigns in Patagonia.  

For more information, contact Diego Luna Quevedo(diego.luna@manomet.org), Southern Cone Program Coordinator, Shorebird Recovery Project, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.


New, Sharper Declines Reported for Red Knots

Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) at Delaware Bay WHSRN Site. / © Diego Luna Quevedo

The Red Knot (Calidris canutus), one of the Western Hemisphere’s longest-distance migratory shorebirds, has been a candidate for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 2006. Candidate species are recognized as warranting protection, but are not considered as high a priority for listing as other declining species. Annual updates to the status of a candidate species are required until either it is listed or new information indicates that listing is no longer warranted.

The draft 2011 update to the status of the Red Knot was recently released by shorebird-expert authors from three nations. Except for a slight increase seen in 2009, the number of rufa knots (an imperiled subspecies) wintering in Tierra del Fuego has been in decline for the last decade. However, the 2011 update reports one of the sharpest declines yet, from 16,260 birds in 2010 to now 9,850 – a nearly 40% loss. The update further reports no evidence of recovery of horseshoe crabs, whose eggs provide critical nutrition for knots as they “refuel” on the U.S. mid-Atlantic Coast en route to Arctic breeding grounds.

A final, peer-reviewed update will be published in the coming months. However, given the signs of crisis, authors released their 14-page draft in the interest of timely information exchange among researchers, managers, and others able to help make a difference in Red Knot conservation. It is in that same spirit that we share it with you, the broader WHSRN community.

Read the draft 2011 Update to the Status of the Red Knot (182 KB, PDF)

For more information, please contact Amanda Dey (Amanda.Dey@dep.state.nj.us), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program.



Highlights from WHSRN Hemispheric Council’s Annual Meeting

WHSRN Hemispheric Council members, invited guests, and WHSRN Executive Office staff met in Avalon, New Jersey, May 2011 (partial group photo). / Courtesy of Mirta Carbajal.

During 9–11 May, the WHSRN Hemispheric Council held its annual meeting in Avalon, New Jersey (USA), in concert with the 25th anniversary celebration of Delaware Bay’s designation as the first WHSRN site.  As part of the celebration, Council members were invited to attend a luncheon sail on the Delaware Bay aboard the restored tall ship, A. J. Meerwald, along with WHSRN visionaries and pioneers, distinguished speakers including Henry Paulson, Jr., and several special guests representing the Bay’s many dedicated local conservation partners. Docents on the educational sail highlighted the Bay’s continuing importance for shorebirds, as well its historic role—and that of the A. J. Meerwald—in the area’s thriving oyster industry in the 1900s. Read more about the Delaware Bay event in this issue of  WHSRNews.

The Council opened its meeting with a special presentation by two invited guests from the international conservation organization and WHSRN partner, Rare. Keith Alger, Vice President for Latin America, and Rafael Calderón, Pride Campaign Director for Latin America, spoke about their experience using social marketing as a tool for addressing conservation issues within communities. Patricia González and Mirta Carbajal, both from Fundación Inalafquen in Argentina, followed with a presentation about Rare’s successful Pride campaign recently carried out at the San Antonio Bay WHSRN Site. The Council discussed further how and where this concept could best be applied to shorebird conservation at other WHSRN sites.

At its annual meeting, the Council approved Bahía Samborombón, Argentina, as the 85th WHSRN Site. 

A prominent item on the Council’s agenda was considering the nomination of Bahía Samborombón in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, as a WHSRN Site of International Importance. After a discussion of materials received in advance, the Council voted unanimously in favor of the site’s designation. Bahía Samborombón is the 85th site in the Network and 5th in Argentina. Read more about Bahía Samborombón in this issue of  WHSRNews.

Over the remaining day and a half, Council members briefly reported on the status of shorebird conservation efforts in their countries, at WHSRN sites therein, and/or by the organizations or agencies they represent. Council member Dr. Larry Niles of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey made a special presentation about the current health of the host site, Delaware Bay. The several fisheries restrictions placed on the harvest of horseshoe crabs over the last 10 years have not led to any measurable increase in the number of crabs or their eggs, a vital food resource for migratory shorebirds, especially the rapidly declining Red Knot. Read more about this topic in this issue of WHSRNews and in the WHSRN Press Room.

Diego Luna Quevedo, Southern Cone Program Coordinator for Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences’ Shorebird Recovery Project and WHSRN Executive Office, gave a special presentation on “good governance,” defined as the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not). Diego shared concepts from professional colleagues and from his experiences working with decision-makers in both governmental and nongovernmental organizations and agencies in Latin America. His overview and examples brought new perspectives to the Council on how best to achieve collaborate, site-based conservation. 

Council members Ian Davidson (Council Chair, left), Larry Niles (right), and Garry Donaldson (lower right) measure and band shorebirds together at Delaware Bay. / © Diego Luna Quevedo

A focus of the meeting was the Council’s draft 2011-2015 Strategic Plan, prepared and distributed in advance by the Executive Committee. Council members and invited guests met in small groups to exchange and record their comments and suggestions for improving and strengthening the draft; highlights were then shared among the entire group. The Council will incorporate this valuable feedback into a final draft of the Strategic Plan, expected to be completed this summer.

Several Council members, invited guests, and WHSRN staff spent their last half-day together volunteering on Larry Niles’s research team, banding, measuring, weighing, and releasing shorebirds on the bayside coast of New Jersey. The team “processed” more than 200 shorebirds, and made equally as many good memories.     

Special thanks to the following invited guests for participating in the Council meeting and enriching its discussions: Brad Andres (USFWS), John Cecil (National Audubon Society and WHSRN-US Council Chair), Ted Cheskey (Nature Canada), Guy Foulks (USFWS), Patricia González (Fundación Inalafquen), Humphrey Sitters (Wader Study Bulletin), and Lillian Trapper (Moose Cree First Nation).

For more information, please contact Ian Davidson (IDavidson@naturecanada.ca), Chair, WHSRN Hemispheric Council, and Executive Director, Nature Canada; or, Charles Duncan (cduncan@manomet.org), Executive Director, WHSRN Executive Office at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. 



Highlights from the 2nd Meeting of the Red Knot Working Group

Red Knot Working Group meeting participants, Avalon, New Jersey, May 2011/ Courtesy of Diego Luna Quevedo

The Red Knot Working Group of the Americas held its second meeting on 5–8 May in Avalon, New Jersey, U.S.A., to discuss conservation strategies and concrete actions for the recovery of rufa Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa).  The group chose these dates to mesh with the 25th Anniversary celebration of Delaware Bay, the WHSRN Hemispheric Council’s annual meeting, and the start of the 2011 Delaware Bay shorebird banding season. Meeting co-organizers Larry Niles of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and Charles Duncan of Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences were joined by facilitator Karen Terwilliger in hosting the meeting, with partial funding from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to Manomet. A diverse array of 25 conservationists knowledgeable about Red Knots attended, representing six nations and eight U.S. states.

The Working Group last met in November 2009 on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, U.S.A. See the December 2009 WHSRNews for a meeting summary. Participants created a draft business plan for recovering rufa Red Knots that was submitted to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, but never adopted. Therefore, the focus of the Working Group’s three-day meeting this May was to revise the Plan, with a priority on identifying measurable, time-bound actions that would help to improve the reproductive success and survival of Red Knots range-wide. The group also sought to make the Plan more adaptable to other funders.   

The following is an overview of the types of actions the Working Group identified and recommends taking:

Site-based Conservation

Reduce or eliminate threats known to be having a significant impact on Red Knots in key locations throughout their range. This goal involves increasing the abundance of horseshoe crab eggs, a vital food source, at Delaware Bay stopover; reducing disturbance to knots by humans and natural predators; and eliminating pressure from legal and illegal hunting of the species. 


Improve our understanding of how various factors are affecting Red Knots’ ability to forage sufficiently. Determine the distribution of juveniles and the factors affecting their survival. Through expanded surveys and use of geolocators, identify currently unknown stopover and wintering areas.


Improve our ability to communicate amongst ourselves as a Working Group and with others associated with the recovery effort using more efficient and effective avenues for sharing information.

Red Knots (Calidris canutus) / USFWS

Further, the Working Group established how it will measure the success of the site-based actions, and determined which indicators would signal success in their science-based efforts. 

For more information, please contact Charles Duncan(cduncan@manomet.org), Director, Shorebird Recovery Project at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, or Larry Niles (larry.niles@gmail.com), Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.




Manomet Scientists Receive Funding for U.S. Gulf Shorebird Recovery

Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) / USFWS

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) recently awarded a $647,861 grant to Shorebird Recovery Project scientists at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences to restore and protect U.S. Gulf Coast shorebird populations. The project, funded by NFWF’s Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife, will help offset the effects of BP’s oil disaster last April on two migratory shorebird species: the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) and endangered Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus). A significant portion of both species’ Atlantic coast populations overwinters in the Gulf and breeds in the Northeast; Manomet’s project will likewise be carried out in these two regions. 

In the Northeast, Manomet shorebird scientists will enhance the reproductive success of American Oystercatchers and Piping Plovers by protecting nest sites in key breeding areas along the coast. Working with partners, they will reduce both the disturbance to nesting adults from recreational activities and the predation on nests and chicks by various over-abundant wildlife species. 

American Oystercatcher chick (Haematopus palliatus) / © Art Morris, Birds as Art

Throughout the Gulf Coast states, managers of public lands will be provided training and the educational and technical resources to improve their coastal and wetland habitat management practices for shorebirds. Manomet will also increase partners’ participation in the International Shorebird Survey (ISS), the longest-running, voluntary, shorebird monitoring program in the Western Hemisphere. Such ISS data will be helpful in evaluating the success/effectiveness of regional management efforts, and in detecting shorebird population trends in this post-disaster environment.

"This grant will help us address two of the most important factors limiting shorebird populations by increasing nesting success and improving management of wetlands and beaches used for migration and wintering," said Dr. Stephen Brown, Manomet's Director of Shorebird Science. The project will also benefit the many migratory shorebird species that share the same habitat as American Oystercatchers and Piping Plovers. 

Read Manomet’s press release  (PDF, 100 KB)

For more information, please contact Shiloh Schulte (sschulte@manomet.org), American Oystercatcher Recovery Coordinator, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.



NMBCA Grants: Making a Difference for Migratory Shorebirds

Earlier this spring, bird conservation partners throughout the Americas celebrated the 10th anniversary of the historic passage of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) by the U.S. Congress. Watch the commemorative video on NMBCA’s Facebook. The competitive, partnership-driven, matching grants program established under NMBCA is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and facilitated by its Division of Bird Habitat Conservation. Each year, the program funds projects that promote the long-term conservation of Neotropical migratory birds and their habitats in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 

In May, the Service announced more than $1 million in NMBCA funding for 10 shorebird conservation projects across the Western Hemisphere. A required 3:1 match ratio means that these Federal funds helped to leverage more than $3.3 million more from project partners. The table below summarizes this year’s funded shorebird-related projects; individual project descriptions are available on the NMBCA 2011 webpage.

Project Title / Country


Award Amount

Matching funds

Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network; US, Canada

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences



Connecting Sites & People for Buff-breasted Sandpiper Conservation in Wintering Areas; Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay

Aves Uruguay



Conservation of Shorebirds & Coastal Wetlands at Bahía de Sechura; Peru

Naturaleza y Cultura International



Conserving Neotropical Migratory Birds in High Andean Wetlands, II; Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru

BirdLife International



Local Governance, Ecotourism, Ecological Monitoring & Education, II; Argentina

The Conservation Land Trust



Modeling Sea Level Rise Impacts on Mangrove Distribution & Use by Migratory Birds; Grenada

Grenada Fund for Conservation, Inc 



Salt-works and Rice-fields as Alternative Habitats for Migrant Shorebirds; Colombia

Asociación Calidris



Shorebird Recovery Project for Patagonia, South America; Argentina, Chile

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences



Stewards of Saskatchewan: Habitat Conservation for Bird Species at Risk, II; Canada

Nature Saskatchewan



Towards Sustainable Migratory Bird Conservation: Linking Sites, Linking People, II; Argentina, Chile

BirdLife International







Over the years, NMBCA has awarded $8.3 million in grants to a total of 70 projects having direct benefits to shorebirds and their habitats. “As of 2010, this figure represents about 30% of the total funds awarded by NMBCA since 2004,” notes Brad Andres, U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan Coordinator. These grants also have leveraged more than $25 million in matching partner funds.

This year’s shorebird projects span the entire hemisphere from the Arctic to Patagonia, involving 11 nations—reflecting both the staggering migratory range of shorebirds and the level of skill and dedication to conserving them that exists across the Americas.

Sanderlings (Calidris alba) / Pablo Petracci

For the NMBCA program, however, this latest successful grants cycle—like all those before it—is only part of the story. Every year, the funding requested greatly exceeds the amount of funding available for meeting the serious conservation needs for all Neotropical migrants. This year was no different. The received 108 proposals requesting $12.5 million in project funds; the total amount of funding available was $4.3 million, and awarded to 34 projects. The migratory bird experts that review the proposals estimate that about half of all eligible, worthy projects—and their potential matching funds—were turned away unfunded.


Past funding awarded by NMBCA has led to highly successful outcomes for shorebirds across the Americas—just ask any successful grantee. We did. And here are just a few of the many successes they shared:

  • “With NMBCA funding, we have provided a safe haven for migratory shorebirds in Barbados - converting a former shooting swamp into a Shorebird Refuge. By working closely with hunter/wildfowling groups on the island, we are moving towards a more sustainable annual take of shorebirds based on annual bag limits and moratoria for species of conservation concern."

David C. Wege, Senior Caribbean Program Manager, BirdLife International

  • “With NMBCA funding, we created a multi-institutional Grassland Conservation Alliance in the Southern Cone, and initiated conservation actions across 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of grasslands to conserve shorebirds and other avifauna.”

Joaquín Aldabe, Aves Uruguay

  • “With NMBCA funding, we reduced threats to Red Knots in Patagonia, South America, and New Jersey, USA, by increasing local capacity and government interest for shorebird protection at all four sites and by creating nature centers at two of these sites.”

                                                Charles D. Duncan, Director, Shorebird Recovery Project,
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences

  • “With funding from NMBCA and others, we launched our national Shorebird Conservation Plan; advanced knowledge of the population dynamics of migrant shorebirds in Colombia; incorporated the Iscuandé River Delta (the most important place for shorebirds in our country) in WHSRN; and built capacity among our partners for shorebird surveys in protected areas along the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. One of the most remarkable achievements has been the involvement of small-scale rice producers in a conservation strategy called ‘The Wings of Rice,’ identifying and promoting ‘shorebird-friendly’ agricultural practices.”

Fernando Castillo, Director, Asociación Calidris, Colombia

  • “With NMBCA funding, we have extended the North American “Linking Communities” initiative to South America, building capacity, raising awareness, and addressing threats at four key sites for shorebirds in the Pacific and Interior flyways. We have also been able to increase knowledge of the importance of wetlands in the high Andes for shorebirds, identify threats, and advance with the development and implementation of action plans in three protected areas.”

Rob Clay, Senior Conservation Manager—Americas Secretariat, BirdLife International

Congratulations to all of these organizations for their successes and for their commitment to effective shorebird conservation across the Americas! Our congratulations, too, and best wishes to fellow NMBCA 2011 grant recipients.

For more information about NMBCA, please contact Guy Foulks (guy_b_foulks@fws.gov), Grants Program Coordinator, Division of Bird Habitat Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



Brad Winn Migrates from Georgia to Massachusetts – then to the Arctic!

This February, it was our pleasure to welcome shorebird biologist and long-time colleague, Brad Winn, as Conservation Specialist to the Shorebird Recovery Project team at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. After 20+ years in his adopted state of Georgia, Brad pointed his wings northbound and returned to his native Massachusetts. For the last 10 years, he led the coastal nongame conservation staff in the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In that role, Brad was a key partner in many of Manomet’s projects and initiatives, including our long-term American Oystercatcher Recovery Campaign. At Manomet, he will continue to be an active participant in shorebird science and conservation efforts from Alaska to South America.

As Conservation Specialist, Brad’s areas of responsibility include leading shorebird management workshops and strengthening the International Shorebird Survey (ISS): two major initiatives started by Manomet’s founding shorebird scientist, Brian Harrington. The purpose of the workshops is to teach the science and practice of managing lands for the benefit of shorebird populations. The materials address a variety of issues, including how to provide appropriate habitats for shorebirds, reduce disturbance to migrating birds, and manage for populations of breeding birds. For the ISS program, Brad endeavors to increase the number of volunteers and level of monitoring activity, particularly in the U.S. Gulf region impacted by BP’s oil disaster last year. In partnership with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, he is also helping to improve online ISS data submission and management.

Brad is also a veteran crew member of the annual sojourns to the Arctic led each June by Dr. Stephen Brown, Manomet’s Director of Shorebird Science. After a lengthy stopover in our Massachusetts headquarters, and just as Mother Nature was showing signs of keeping her promise of summer to the weary, Brad left in search of more snow—and shorebirds. Throughout June, he and several others were monitoring and collecting data on breeding shorebirds at the Canning River Delta in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska. The project is part of an ongoing, collaborative, Arctic-wide effort to understand the factors limiting shorebird populations. Through Manomet’s Arctic Blog and Twitter updates, Brad and Stephen brought to life for us the unique experiences of working and camping in the Arctic. Their observations and photos captured well the spectrum of life there, from the profound to the comical. Brad and Stephen are both safely back in Massachusetts now, but their adventures live on for you at Arctic Blog.

Brad Winn staff biography

Brad Winn’s new contact information: bwinn@manomet.org, (508) 224-6521 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (508) 224-6521      end_of_the_skype_highlighting extension 225, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Shorebird Recovery Project, P.O. Box 35, Manomet, Massachusetts 02345 USA.



Best Wishes to Paul Schmidt, WHSRN Hemispheric Council Member

On behalf of the WHSRN Hemispheric Council and in the presence of the WHSRN community at large, we want to take this opportunity to recognize and warmly thank our friend and colleague, Paul Schmidt, for his long service on the Council as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) representative. Paul brought not only the Service’s concern for and commitment to shorebird conservation but also his own personal passion for it. 

Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited


This spring, Paul retired from federal service after 30+ years to become the new Chief Conservation Officer for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU). For the past six years, Paul was the Service’s Assistant Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs, providing leadership on a variety of national and international bird conservation initiatives and partnerships. His experiences therein no doubt have prepared him well for the job ahead, supervising the public policy, science, and habitat initiatives carried out by DU in Washington, D.C., and four regional offices.

Thank you again, Paul, for your service on the WHSRN Hemispheric Council and especially for your personal commitment to shorebirds! We wish you all the best, and look forward to working with you at DU on our shared concern for healthy wetland habitats for migratory birds.