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Monitoring Marshbirds for Sound Conservation Decisions

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#1 Jennifer Wheeler

Jennifer Wheeler
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:48 PM

Dear All,

A few months ago, a document entitled "Monitoring Secretive Marshbirds for
Sound Conservation Decisions at Multiple Scales" was circulated through
this network and others. The paper requested input on five specific
questions from anyone interested in contributing to the development of a
continental marshbird monitoring program built on the needs of marshbird
conservation and management. The paper, along with a spreadsheet
containing responses, is posted at:

Thank you to all respondants.

The responses confirmed that the marshbird monitoring community seeks to
address many different management issues, arising from local-scale to
range-wide mandates, ranging from understanding general species status to
guiding regional-scale habitat management to directing very specific
site-actions. Moreover, the community operates under diverse field
conditions and levels of capacity; thus flexibility is a key need when
making recommendations to the community. Moreover, great potential for
partner/joint monitoring efforts exists to address common or overlapping
questions/objectives arising from these many issues. Many partners have
expressed interest in and financial/staffing commitments to implementing
multi-scale secretive marshbird conservation and monitoring for both
harvested and non-game species.
he responses were used in the planning of a summit workshop taking place
next week outside Mobile, Alabama. The Steering Committee for this
workshop were the paper authors (Tom Cooper, Chris Dwyer, Katie Koch, Mark
Seamans, Jennifer Wheeler; all USFWS) plus Courtney Conway (USGS), Greg
Shriver (U.Delaware) and Dan Petit (who facilitated the pivotal 1998 and
2006 marshbird monitoring workshops). The Steering Committee felt strongly
about keeping the size of the meeting manageable. The ~30 individuals
invited to the workshop reflect the diversity of stakeholders (from public
and private entities; across North America; concerned with population and
habitat management; etc) but are only a sampling of the large number of
people and entities interested in this topic. Therefore, they have been
asked to think broadly and represent the interests of their broader
partnerships and regions. Moreover, any products of the workshop would be
considered draft, open to comment and improvement by others after the
workshop. In short, there will be opportunities for additional stakeholder
input after the summit.

The workshop will focus on laying out the management issues and the
monitoring objectives based on these issues, in order to identify designs
that address these commonalities and overlaps. The aim is increased
efficiency of effort as well as providing the multi-scale context required
for decision-making (local decisions should be made within a larger
context; larger goals rely on local action). Ultimately, the Steering
Committee envisions production of a "business plan," describing a program
of likely multiple surveys across the content and incorporating statements
on roles and costs/benefits of particular designs. This document, once
completed over the coming months, would be for use in communicating with
implementers as well as the program managers and funders who make
implementation possible.

Again, thank you to all who have provided feedback and who have otherwise
invested in improving marshbird monitoring in North America.

Jennifer Wheeler
Waterbird Coordinator
Waterbird Conservation for the Americas
Division of Migratory Bird Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop MBSP
Arlington, VA 22203
703-358-1931 (voice)
703-358-2217 (fax)
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