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Monitoring Marshbirds for Sound Conservation Decisions

Jennifer Wheeler

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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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