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Ellen Paul

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  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/17/science/saltmarsh-sparrow-extinction.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront The species, which breeds in coastal marshes from Maine to Virginia, and lives only on the Atlantic Coast, has always been at the mercy of time and tide, nesting between the highest spring tides. But now a sea level rise of a fraction of an inch a year caused by climate change is pushing tides higher and higher, threatening the birds’ survival. Their population has been declining about nine percent a year since the late 1990s. They now number somewhere from 40,000 to 80,000, although overall population estimates are tentative because the birds are not always easy to find. Dr. Elphick and his colleagues recently predicted that they will reach a threshold, when the highest spring tides come too often to allow the birds time to raise their young. “After that threshold is crossed,” he says, “these birds have maybe six years before they’re extinct.”
  2. 2018-2019 Awards Now Open! Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT. Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to info@birdscaribbean.org Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018. Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018 Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund. Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected. The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean. Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat. Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost. In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference. Application Guidelines Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract. Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line. The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work. Evaluation: A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change. The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding. Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation. Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. Download the application form (PDF) here. Read more about Betty and the fund here.
  3. https://www.birdscaribbean.org/2018/08/funding-opportunity-the-betty-petersen-conservation-fund-to-help-caribbean-birds/ August 29, 2018 Funding Opportunity—The Betty Petersen Conservation Fund to Help Caribbean Birds 2018-2019 Awards Now Open! Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT. Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to info@birdscaribbean.org Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018. Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018 Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund. Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected. The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean. Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat. Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost. In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference. Application Guidelines Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract. Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line. The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work. Evaluation: A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change. The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding. Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation. Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. Download the application form (PDF) here. Read more about Betty and the fund here.
  4. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-trump-administration-rollbacks-will-harm-millions Wednesday, September 5, 2018 Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today took decisive action against the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw protections for America’s migratory birds. Attorney General Becerra and state attorneys from seven states filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging the Administration’s decision to put corporate interests ahead of protecting the nation’s public interests by rolling back protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The 100-year-old treaty originally codified an agreement between the United States and Canada to help ensure the preservation and protection of migratory birds from both intentional and incidental mortality caused by human activities. Over the years, the MBTA has broadened to include similar agreements with Mexico, Japan, and Russia. “Birds such as the bald eagle are not only national symbols of freedom and liberty, they are also vital for our country’s ecosystem and survival,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This latest reckless action by the Trump Administration threatens one hundred years of international cooperation to protect precious wildlife and ecosystems. The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are obligated to act in the best interest of the public at large, not corporate interests. The Administration’s utter disregard for the ecosystem it is entrusted to maintain and its incessant crusade to ensure that corporations are not held accountable for their actions is inexcusable. As the Administration fails to fulfill its obligations to the American public, we will continue to hold it accountable.” The MBTA protects more than 1,000 native U.S. species of birds, including the bald eagle, America’s national bird, and other bird species that were hunted to near extinction before MBTA protections were put in place in 1918. Under longstanding interpretation of the Act by Democratic and Republican administrations alike dating back decades, the MBTA has required utilities and operators of facilities such as wind farms, power lines, and oil waste pits to take preventative measures to reduce and mitigate bird mortality. Under the Administration’s reinterpretation, companies would be exempt from these requirements. Experts estimate that eliminating these requirements would significantly increase migratory bird deaths by tens of millions each year. Attorney General Becerra joins a lawsuit brought by New York, which, alongside separate suits by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society, asserts that the Administration’s revised opinion and planned pullback of MBTA is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and in violation of the law.
  5. Doctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) is pleased to announce the availability of a Doctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science. One fellowship, the ConocoPhillips/SMSC Conservation Research Fellow, will be offered in fall 2019 for a student with a B.S. or M.S. in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Zoology or a related field, and whose research interests coincide with scholars from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and George Mason University. Prospective candidates must qualify for admission to a conservation-focused Ph.D. program at George Mason University. Support will be provided for five years with a stipend of $28,000/year, health insurance, and tuition remission for 18 total credits for the academic year. Fellowship awardee will be expected to pursue this research full time. Preference will be given to applicants who will work on a research project involving collaboration between Mason and Smithsonian investigators and whose mentor(s) are actively collaborating with SMSC (e.g., accepting practicum/research students, unpaid instruction). The awardee will be required to acknowledge SMSC and the donor on all publications and presentations resulting from work completed while funded by this fellowship. SMSC will construct marketing material showcasing the awardee’s work. Awardee will be expected to meet annually with the donors, and will be required to present research results each year at Mason’s Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference (MaGIC) and/or Mason’s 3MT® competition. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the following links before applying: Ph.D. program in Environmental Science and Policy: http://esp.gmu.edu/academic-programs/graduate/admissions/ Ph.D. program in Biosciences: http://catalog.gmu.edu/colleges-schools/science/systems-biology/biosciences-phd/ - requirementstext Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI): https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation Applicants should contact potential research advisors in advance of submitting the application. Arrangements with SCBI and Mason mentors may take time and is required for successful application. Lists of potential research mentors (other Mason and SI researchers may serve): https://nationalzoo.si.edu/about/staff https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation/scbi-staff https://biology.gmu.edu/people/faculty/departmental-faculty-bios/ https://cos.gmu.edu/ssb/research/ https://esp.gmu.edu/faculty-staff/graduate-program-faculty/ A full application packet must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office of George Mason University (https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/apply-now). Follow instructions for a Graduate-Degree Seeking Student for fall 2019. Include the extra Letter of Interest for the doctoral fellowship.   The following materials must also be submitted as part of the application: 1. Letter of Interest addressing the candidate’s research experience and how this experience relates to SMSC and SCBI research agendas. This statement should be specific and reflect discussions with prospective SCBI and Mason research mentors. 2. Three letters of reference. 3. Endorsement letters by SCBI and Mason mentors. 4. Transcripts from completed degrees. 5. GRE scores (general test). 6. International students must submit adequate TOEFL scores. For full consideration, applications must be received by February 4, 2019. Specific questions may be addressed to Cody W. Edwards, Ph.D., Executive Director, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, cedward7@gmu.edu.
  6. The entire text (from the Congressional Record) reads: PROTECTION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS. During the executive session the Senate adopted a resolution advising and consenting to the ratification of a convention between the United States and Great Britain, Executive Document E, providing for the protection of migratory birds in the United States and Canada, signed at Washington August 16, 1916, and on motion by Mr. O'GORMAN the injunction of secrecywas removed from the same. 64 Congressional Record 13348 (29 August 1916)
  7. BBL collaborates with University of Baltimore Release Date: August 23, 2018 The BBL is collaborating with graduate students at the University of Baltimore to revise Reportband.gov and BANDIT software. The BBL initiated a collaboration with the University of Baltimore’s graduate program in Interaction Design and Information Architecture in fall 2017. This novel partnership provides graduate students with real-world problems and allows the BBL to leverage local talent in areas outside of the expertise of current staff. During the fall semester, graduate students reviewed the BBL’s website and Reportband.gov. In the spring semester a different group of graduate students conducted user testing of Bandit software. We’ve recruited two graduate students from these courses to continue working with the BBL as part of their Master’s theses. Jaime Dalbke is working on the redesign of Reportband.gov. Brandon Turner is gathering additional feedback from Bandit users in advance of the replacement of current software with a new, web-based data submission process. Stay tuned for updates about these projects here!
  8. I have received a request from Akbar Shah, a Pakistani Ph.D who has been studying tragopans. The Pakistani government offers a full-freight six-month post-doc fellowship. He has contacted the very few who have published on tragopans and is hoping there might be someone else who is interested in having him in his lab. The fellowship pays his airfare, lodging, and something called "bench fees." It has to be at one of the top 200 universities as per this ranking: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2018/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats If you are interested in having Dr. Shah working in your lab for six months, please contact him directly. His e-mail address is wildlifeswat@gmail.com I have attached his CV. AkbarShahCV-2.pdf
  9. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. August 9: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/401163-fws-head-associated-with-endangered-species-act-rollbacks-departing Greg Sheehan, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is stepping down from his post, the Interior Department confirmed to The Hill Thursday. [NOTE: Sheehan was never actually the chief of the USFWS. He was appointed as an "acting" and when his term as "acting" exceeded legal limits, the DOI re-named the slot "Principal Deputy Director. The USFWS could not name him to the director's position because the law provides that, "No individual may be appointed as the Director unless he is, by reason of scientific education and experience, knowledgeable in the principles of fisheries and wildlife management." Sheehan earned a bachelor’s degree at Utah State University and later received an MBA.] "Greg Sheehan has been an incredible asset to the Interior team and was tremendous in helping Secretary Zinke expand access for hunting and fishing on over a quarter million acres of public lands across the country. We will miss working with him and wish him and his family nothing but the best," Interior Spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement. In an all employee email Sheehan sent to staff Thursday evening, he referenced family time as the impetus behind his stepping down. He plans to move back to Utah. "I have been away from my family for quite some time now, and while they have been patient and understanding, it is time that I rejoin them," he wrote. He acknowledged that he will not be serving his full term, as he originally promised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. In the letter he cited a number of achievements he accomplished while at the agency, including "opening more than 380,000 acres of our Refuge System to new hunting, fishing, and other recreational uses." Sheehan additionally mentioned his close relationship with Zinke saying that he was "constantly under the gun in the media." I can tell you from experience that he genuinely cares about our public lands and their responsible and sustainable use by all. I have spent time over dinner or driving remote roads with the Secretary, and I honestly believe that your thoughts and ideas of conservation stewardship align more closely with him than you may know," Sheehan told FWS staff. Since starting at FWS last June, Sheehan has largely been regarded as a driving force behind some of the service's more controversial decisions. A member of the Safari Club, Sheehan was a key figure in the Trump administration's push last fall to overturn an Obama-era ban on elephant trophy imports from a number of African nations. Sheehan first made the announcement that FWS was releasing a finding to overturn the ban at a Safari Club event in Tanzania last November. Following public outrage and a few tweets from President Trump promising to put a halt on the decision, the administration later announced it would allow imports in on a "case by case" basis. In February Sheehan attended the Safari Club's annual conference in Las Vegas on behalf of the administration. Sheehan was also influential in implementing a number of agency-wide reforms to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. In July he helped the agency roll-out a number of new proposals that could ultimately weaken ESA species protections. On a call with stakeholders, Sheehan--the former head of Utah’s wildlife agency-- said the changes would help the agency meet the ESA's main goal of “species recovery,” so that animals and plants could more easily be removed from endangered and threatened species lists. As Acting Administrator of FWS, Sheehan never went through the official confirmation process, an issue addressed by a number of environmental groups. At least one environmental group praised the news that Sheehan was leaving. "Sheehan’s departure is welcome news for America’s wildlife. In just one year in office, he inflicted incredible harm on imperiled animals by consistently putting special interests ahead of science and the environment," Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. "His actions derailed the recovery of countless endangered species, gutted protections for billions of migratory birds and wreaked havoc on our natural heritage.”
  10. Ever wonder just what the Ornithological Council does for you and for your societies? The Ornithological Council is a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Here's the run-down for June-July 2018. Prior newsBRIEFS can be found on BIRDNET, the Ornithological Council's website. In this time period, the Ornithological Council: 1. Submitted a second set of comments to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare of the National Institutes of Health pertaining to the potential reform of animal welfare laws, as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act. These comments focused on specific changes that the animal welfare agencies (OLAW and the Animal Care program of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) are considering. As before, the OC focused on burdens to the researcher (as opposed to the institution) and the use of these policies to better animal welfare. The OC comments supported the idea of continuing review using risk-based methodology (a logical extension of the standard operating procedure concept); harmonizing guidance issued by the two agencies; streamlining the guidance; refraining from regulating via guidance (which actually violates the law!); expanding the scope of guidance documents to include the taxon-based materials such as Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research: much more extensive opportunity for stakeholder input into guidance documents. 2. Pursued discussion with the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management about many long-standing permit policy and procedures problems. Met with Eric Kershner (Branch Chief for the Branch of Conservation, Permits, and Policy) and Ken Richkus (Deputy Division Chief and Acting Division Chief since Brad Bortner retired). For the first time in many years, we are hopeful that our persistent efforts are about to bear fruit! Key among these changes underway: an upcoming online permit application and reporting system (!) that may be completed as soon as February 2019, extending permit duration, and completing long-pending standard operating procedure manuals and the scientific collecting policy (which has been in draft since 1995). 3. Met with Aurelia Skipwith, the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary (and acting Assistant Secretary) for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to urge DOI support for the efforts of the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management, including funding for the online permit application and reporting system, staffing, and efforts to reform and streamline permit procedures. During that meeting, OC also informed Ms. Skipwith of the decades of effort by OC and others to reach an agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) regarding the ownership of specimens collected on NPS land. This problem was on the brink of resolution via a "permanent custody" agreement. The NPS was planning a press conference and a pilot project comprising five museums but then suddenly and without explanation reversed course and and left things to stand in the same unsatisfactory situation that had been problematic for biology collections for at least 30 years. At the same time, the OC asked Ms. Skipwith to look into the petition filed by the OC in 2014 to suspend or revoke the CITES "validation" requirement, which has proved unworkable and has the potential to result in the loss of valuable imported research material. 4. Submitted a request to USDA regulatory reform initiative to increase import permit duration to three years. The only reason for the one-year duration is the need for the fees generated by import applications. The OC explained that extending the permit duration would decrease the agency workload and decrease burden on the stakeholders. 5. Spearheaded an effort to bring attention to serious resource limitations at the USGS Bird Banding Lab. The OC learned that there is a real possibility that the BBL will not have funding for its current data management software, much less funding for a much-needed upgrade. Loss of the data management system would almost certainly force a shut-down of the banding program, with dire consequences for ornithological research. The OC also learned that the BBL is in need of permission from the Department of the Interior to move forward to fill four approved positions. The OC shared this information with other organizations -including Ducks Unlimited, the Flyway Councils, the Wildlife Society, and bird observatories - and proposed a sign-on letter to Timothy Petty, Ph.D (DOI Assistant Secretary for Water and Science), but due to the urgency of the situation (department budgets will be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 10), chose instead to send its own letter and encourage the other organizations to do likewise. To date, the Atlantic Flyway Council, twelve bird observatories, and one independent research institution have sent letters. The OC is attempting to arrange for an in-person meeting with Dr. Petty. 6. OC is working on a side-by-side-by-side analysis of the new California scientific collecting permit regulation, comparing it to the proposed regulation and with OC requests and suggestions (prepared with the input of numerous ornithologists and research organizations in California); fielded questions from ornithologists, submitted follow-up questions to the agency, and updated the California permits information on the BIRDNET permits page 7. Completed the year-end financial analysis and completed the annual 990 tax returns. 8. Worked with Jeff Stratford, the new chair of the conservation committee of the Wilson Ornithological Society, on options and strategies for that society's conservation efforts. 9. Attended the joint meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and the Wilson Ornithological Society. 10. In anticipation of a resolution (or at least a temporary resolution) of the import problems resulting from the implementation of the "ACE" declaration system by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), OC has resumed efforts to update the import manual for scientific specimens and samples. In the meantime, OC has continued to act as a liaison between the research community and the CBP with regard to specific problems that occur. 11. Investigated a report by the Government Accountability Office pertaining to animal welfare regulations as those regulations pertain to federal agencies. The report is of concern because it addressed the issue of the "field studies" exemption and the long-pending regulations pertaining to birds. The GAO is one of the most highly respected of government agencies but they have no expertise in these issues and no understanding of how difficult, if not impossible, it would be to issue guidance on field studies. The Animal Care program of APHIS, which also lacks such expertise, seems to be continuing its efforts to do just that, and again, with essentially no input from experts. 12. Circulated the research papers by Joanne Paul-Murphy, Ph.D (supported by the American Ornithological Society) and Andy Engilis (published in the Condor) pertaining to rapid cardiac compression. We explained that these papers should suffice as "scientific justification" to approve a departure (for research funded by NIH, NSF, and certain other federal agencies) until the AVMA changes the classification (at that point, it would no longer be a departure) or, if the AVMA opts not to change the classification, then to continue approving departures.This information was sent to the IACUC-Administrator's listserve, the Scientists' Center for Animal Welfare, PRIM&R (a leading research ethics organization), AAAALAC International (a private accreditation organization), the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians. Assistance with permits - assisted 10 individuals with permit issues. Names are provided in reports to society leadership.
  11. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. On 24 May 2018, the National Audubon Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and American Bird Conservancy filed suit against the Dept. of the Interior challenging as unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory BirdTreaty Act of 1918, 16 U.S.C. § 703(a) (“MBTA” or “Act”). A copy of the lawsuit is attached. STATUS: on 13 July 2018, the court held a pretrial conference. At that conference, the government was ordered to submit a brief on its motion to dismiss the litigation ( as described in the attached letter notifying the court that such motions would be filed) no later than 17 August 2018. The plaintiffs were ordered to submit their separate reply briefs by 17 October 2018 and their joint reply brief no later than 20 November 2018. In addition, there is an earlier-filed case brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation (Civil 1:18-cv-4596). The court has not yet consolidated the two cases but is likely to do so if the two cases survive the motion to dismiss. It is not known if the court will decide the motion on the briefs or if oral argument will be heard. IncidentalTakeComplaintMay18.pdf IncidentalTakeComplaintLetterResponse.pdf
  12. Chicago, IL: July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks seeks a highly motivated individual with the talent and creativity to deliver the Society’s online communications and social media. The successful candidate will have experience in science writing and storytelling; online communication programs and services, including website development, social media, email communications; content management; and publicity. Strong science writing and marketing skills, proven interpersonal skills, and the desire to work in a mission-driven organization are highly desired. This is an outstanding opportunity for someone seeking to lead a communications program in a growing professional society. The Communications Specialist will also be at the front line of implementing the comprehensive communications strategy for the AOS. The Communications Specialist is a part-time position, up to 25 hours per week on average, through Dec 2018, and is expected to go to a full time position in 2019. Compensation: $2,150 per month, for an average of 25 hours per week through December 2018. Base salary range anticipated for the full time position is $42,000-$46,000, starting in 2019. The successful candidate is not required to be located in Chicago. The position begins as soon as the vacancy is filled. See the complete position description. The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 25 August 2018. To be considered, send an application in one file that includes a current C.V. and cover letter detailing your qualifications and interest in the position (no more than four pages combined) to jobs@americanornithology.org. Please direct any questions about the position to Crystal Ruiz, Director of Operations, at cruiz@americanornithology.org. About the American Ornithological Society The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
  13. Chicago, IL: July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks candidates for the editor-in-chief position for its journal, The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The new editor-in-chief will begin their term in 2019 when Phillip Stouffer, Ph.D, the current editor-in-chief of the journal, will step down after a distinguished 5-year term of service. The Condor is an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research, syntheses, and assessments focusing on the application of scientific theory and methods to the conservation, management, and ecology of birds, and the application of ornithological knowledge to conservation and management policy and other issues of importance to the society. The journal holds an Impact Factor of 2.722, making it the top-ranked journal in the field of ornithology. The new EIC of The Condor will serve as the chief scientific authority responsible for the process and output of top quality peer reviewed articles in the journal. The EIC is responsible for assembling and overseeing a diverse editorial board; determining the scope and direction of the scientific content of the journal; overseeing manuscript submissions; ensuring that journal content is effectively and broadly disseminated; and aiding the society in developing new policies responsive to changing publishing needs. The EIC also attends annual AOS meetings and, as an ex officio member of the Elective Council, is responsible for representing and reporting on the publication program of the AOS. The ideal candidate for the editor-in-chief position should be an internationally recognized scientist whose reputation brings prestige and visibility to the journal. Candidates should have five or more years of cumulative hands-on editorial (associate editor or above) experience with international peer reviewed journals; a demonstrated ability to lead teams of fellow scientists; dedication to supporting individual diversity and inclusivity in our field; and a commitment to publishing and broadly disseminating our science. Excellent organizational and communication skills, strong professional ethics and a willingness to adapt to new techniques in scholarly publications are essential. The term of the initial appointment is one year with annual reappointment subject to AOS Council approval; the position includes an annual honorarium of $16,000 USD, and full financial support to attend the AOS Annual Meetings during their editorial term. See the complete position description. The AOS welcomes both direct applications and nominations for the position. Nominees will be contacted by the Chair of the Condor Editorial Search Committee. Interested candidates should submit, electronically, the following materials to the Editorial Search Committee aggregated in one file: cover letter describing their qualifications for the position, editorial experience and ability to meet the annual time demands of the position vision and goals to improve the reach, impact and visibility for The Condor curriculum vitae The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 4 September 2018. For questions about the Condor editor-in-chief position and to submit applications, please contact: Dr. Anna Chalfoun, Chair, The Condor Editorial Search Committee at jobs@americanornithology.org. About the American Ornithological Society The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
  14. Ellen Paul

    New ornithology textbook!

    https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/ornithology And one of the authors is Melanie Colon, one of the OrnithologyExchange administrators!
  15. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. With the GOP in control of both the House and the Senate as well as the White House, it was inevitable that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would come under attack. In recent years, sporadic attempts have been made by the GOP in Congress to weaken the ESA, including attacks on the scientific bases for decision-making. None of these bills succeeded. Now, since the November 2016 election, two dozen or more bills to gut or even revoke the ESA have been introduced. On 2 July 2018, John Barrasso, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works, released a draft discussion of a comprehensive bill that is likely to be the legislation that the GOP will try to enact. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior has proposed a series of regulatory changes that would drastically reduce the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect species under the current law. In other words, even if the legislative proposals fail, the regulatory changes would render the ESA ineffective in many regards.**The proposed rules are scheduled to be formally released for public comment on 25 July 2018.** Comments for each notice must be received within 60 days, by September 24, 2018. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means any personal information provided through the process will be posted. Update 7/25: the formal notices have now been posted. The links to regulations.gov are as follows: Listing habitat and designated critical habitat Changes to prohibited acts Interagency cooperation The specific changes proposed are as follows: 1. Listing and critical habitat designation (Note - everything in this section is prospective only). There are a number of specific sections that would change but this one is of particular concern: The USFWS is seeking public comment for additional potential changes to 50 CFR 424 (the joint USFWS and NOAA provisions for listing species and for designating critical habitat. "We seek public comments recommending, opposing, or providing feedback on specific changes to any provisions in part 424 of the regulations, including but not limited to revising or adopting as regulations existing practices or policies, or interpreting terms or phrases from the Act.In particular, we seek public comment on whether we should consider modifying the definitions of “geographical area occupied by the species” or “physical or biological features” in section 424.02. Based on comments received and on our experience in administering the Act, the final rule may include revisions to any provisions in part 424 that are a logical outgrowth of this proposed rule." a) The current regulation defines geographical area as "Geographical area occupied by the species. An area that may generally be delineated around species' occurrences, as determined by the Secretary (i.e., range). Such areas may include those areas used throughout all or part of the species' life cycle, even if not used on a regular basis (e.g., migratory corridors, seasonal habitats, and habitats used periodically, but not solely by vagrant individuals)." b) The USFWS proposes to remove the phrase, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination [determination = listing, delisting, or reclassifying]. "In removing the phrase, the Services will continue to make determinations based solely on biological considerations. However, there may be circumstances where referencing economic, or other impacts may be informative to the public....While Congress precluded consideration of economic and other impacts from being the basis of a listing determination, it did not prohibit the presentation of such information to the public." 2. Changes to prohibited acts (new listings only) The ESA allows the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to apply to threatened species the same protections from prohibited acts as those afforded to endangered species. The USFWS has done that but NMFS has not. NMFS applies the prohibited acts provision on a species-by-species basis. The proposed rule - which is prospective only - would do likewise. This would also apply to experimental populations. 3. Interagency cooperation This proposed change is prospective only. It pertains to the way agencies coordinate in the evaluation of activities that affect listed species. Specific changes: a) Adding the phrase “as a whole” to the definition of habitat modification or destruction. The USFWS explains that it intends to clearly indicate that the final destruction or adverse modification determination is made at the scale of the entire critical habitat designation. Smaller scales can be very important analysis tools in determining how the impacts may translate to the entire designated critical habitat, but the final determination is not made at the action area, critical habitat unit, or other less extensive scale. b) Deleting this sentence entirely. “Such alterations may include, but are not limited to, effects that preclude or significantly delay the development of the physical or biological features that support the life history needs of the species for recovery.” c) Definition of "effects of the action." The USFWS collapsed the various concepts of direct and indirect effects, and the effects of interrelated and interdependent actions into the new definition. It also limits the analysis to effects of the proposed action. Activities that might result from that proposed action (i.e., BLM building a dam is an action; thousands of people boating on the lake that forms is an activity) would be considered only if they would not occur but for the action and are reasonably certain to occur. d) Environmental baseline - The USFWS is considering this definition: "Environmental baseline is the state of the world absent the action under review and includes the past, present and ongoing impacts of all past and ongoing Federal, State, or private actions and other human activities in the action area, the anticipated impacts of all proposed Federal projects in the action area that have already undergone formal or early section 7 consultation, and the impact of State or private actions in the action area which are contemporaneous with the consultation in process. Ongoing means impacts or actions that would continue in the absence of the action under review.” e) The USFWS plans to formally recognize the concept of programmatic consultation. "They can be used to evaluate the effects of multiple actions anticipated within a particular geographic area; or to evaluate Federal agency programs that guide implementation of the agency’s future actions by establishing standards, guidelines, or governing criteria to which future actions will adhere. By consulting on the program, plan, policy, regulation, series, or suites of activities as a whole, the Services can reduce the number of single, project-by-project consultations, streamline theconsultation process, and increase predictability and consistency for action agencies." f) Eliminating the consultation requirement - in essence the USFWS proposes to allow other agencies to determine that the proposed action will: (1) not affect listed species or critical habitat; or (2) have effects that are manifested through global processes and (i) cannot be reliably predicted or measured at the scale of a listed species ’ current range, or (ii) would result at most in an extremely small and insignificant impact on a listed species or critical habitat, or (iii) are such that the potential risk of harm to a listed species or critical habitat is remote, or (3) result in effects to listed species or critical habitat that are either wholly beneficial or are not capable of being measured or detected in a manner that permits meaningful evaluation g) Establish a deadline for informal consultations - the USFWS and NMFS seem to be struggling to complete these consultations as quickly as some might like. h) Clarify in the regulations what is needed to initiate consultation. i) Clarify the analytical steps the Services undertake in formulating a biological opinion. These changes are intended to better reflect the Services’ approach to analyzing jeopardy and adverse modification as well as address revisions to the definition of “effects of the action.” In summary, these analytical steps are: (1) review all relevant information, (2) evaluate current status of the species and critical habitat and environmental baseline, (3) evaluate effects of the proposed action and cumulative effects, (4) add effects of the action and cumulative effects to the environmental baseline, and, in light of the status of the species and critical habitat , determine if the proposed action is likely to jeopardize listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. This would include any elements of the proposed action that would avoid, minimize, or offset effects of the proposed action, even if there are no “specific and binding plans,” “a clear, definite commitment ofresources”, or meet other such criteria. j) Biological opinion - would allow the USFWS to adopt information from the action agencies into the USFWS biological opinion. The USFWS proposes a collaborative process to facilitate the Federal agency’s development of an initiation package that could be used as all or part of the Service’s biological opinion. First, the Federal agency and the Service must mutually agree that the adoption process is appropriate for the proposed action. Subsequently, the Services and the Federal agency may develop coordination procedures that would facilitate adoption. This agreement must be explained in the Federal agency’s initiation package and acknowledged in the Services’ biological opinion. The purpose of the collaboration is to bring the information and expertise of both the Federal agency and the Service (and any applicant) into the resulting initiation package to facilitate a more efficient and effective consultation process. k) Expedited consultations - the USFWS proposes to add a new provision titled “Expedited consultations”at § 402.14(l) to offer opportunities to streamline consultation, particularly for actions that have minimal adverse effects or predictable effects based on previous consultation experience. This consultation process is proposed to provide an efficient means to complete formal consultation on projects ranging from those that have a minimal impact, to those projects with a potentially broad range of effects that are known and predictable, but that are unlikely to cause jeopardy or destruction oradverse modification. . .
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