WHSRN awarded major grant to foster shorebird conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere

3rd year for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation support to address shorebird declines by Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

MANOMET, MA, December 19, 2006 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Foundation) recently approved a $378,780 grant to the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (Manomet) to sustain the development and implementation of conservation programs that address the decline of shorebird populations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The conservation activities will be conducted by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), a coalition of conservation organizations with 64 shorebird protected sites in eight nations of the Western Hemisphere. The Executive Office of WHSRN is a Manomet program. The Foundation funds will be matched by Manomet and other non-governmental organizations for a total investment of more than $757,560.

Several new hemispheric conservation initiatives will be implemented in this third consecutive year of funding for WSHRN, with a focus on strengthening partnerships, protecting key habitat, and applying tools that improve the scope and pace of habitat conservation at each site within the network.

Peter Stangel, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Eastern Partnership Office Director, noted that this grant represents a new approach for the Foundation's grant-making. "This third year of support for shorebird conservation activities through WHSRN epitomizes the Foundation's new strategic approach to bird conservation. Manomet and WHSRN are leaders in building partnership-based, comprehensive bird and habitat conservation programs, and we are very pleased to enter into this alliance with them."

"This award represents a continuing partnership between WHSRN and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation," said Charles Duncan, director of the Executive Office of WHSRN. "The Foundation's generous continued support will allow us to build on key initiatives carried out in our first two years of funding, and to develop and launch new ones vital for conserving shorebird species and their habitats across the Americas."

This third-year grant will allow WHSRN to work with its partners to undertake the following efforts:

  • Stem losses and create a base for rebuilding populations of four shorebird species of high concern: Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Mountain Plover, Long-billed Curlew, and Western Sandpiper through land protection at Janos and Bahía Santa María, Mexico; Bahía Samborombón, Argentina; Depto de Rocha, Uruguay; and Lagoa do Peixe, Brazil;

  • Analyze threats to WHSRN sites, and develop conservation strategies and measures of success for abating these threats at a hemispheric scale;

  • Complete plans identifying key sites and spatially explicit on-the-ground actions to improve the conservation status of the most "at-risk" shorebird species;

  • Assess the abundance and use of habitat by Red Knots in Patagonia to identify key stopover sites for protection of this population;

  • Develop and disseminate research protocols to test hypotheses on causes for shorebird declines to serve as an authoritative common basis for action;

  • Increase the capacity of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay to conserve migratory shorebird populations using rice fields during the non-reproductive season, through information exchange and inter-sector cooperation.

In the second year of research, the Manomet WHSRN program and its partners accomplished the following:

  • Protected 7,900 acres of key habitat for Long-billed Curlew and Mountain Plover in Mexico (both "species of high concern");
  • Established agreements with ranch owners in Uruguay and Argentina to develop "shorebird-friendly" grazing practices on 18,000 acres to benefit wintering Buff-breasted Sandpipers ("high concern"), with additional outreach activities to other ranchers within the small wintering range of the species;
  • Continued monitoring of endangered Red Knots during their northbound migration of the coast of Patagonia to assess their population and condition;
  • Developed, tested and began implementation of a sophisticated "Site Assessment Tool" to evaluate the state, threats and conservation actions for shorebird habitats at WHSRN sites;
  • Completed conservation plans for four high-priority shorebird species, and have drafts in hand or in progress for an additional seven (representing two-thirds of all such species;
  • Reviewed and analyzed all published manuscripts that address factors limiting the populations of high priority shorebirds, with a manuscript in production.

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About Shorebirds
Shorebirds are a biologically distinct group of small to medium-sized birds generally with long legs, long bills and pointed wings. Shorebirds can be found at the shores of oceans and lakes, in grasslands and marshes, and even in dry uplands.

About Manomet
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences is one of the nation's only independent non-profits dedicated exclusively to carrying out environmental research. Originally founded 37 years ago as the Manomet Bird Observatory, its scientists have been bringing together environmental stakeholders--communities, individuals, universities, government agencies, and businesses--to develop cooperative, science-based policies and management strategies. Dedicated to conserving the natural world for the benefit of wildlife and human populations, Manomet scientists work to conserve forest, wetland, marine, and agricultural habitats, as well as birds and wildlife populations throughout the Western Hemisphere. For more information, please visit www.manomet.org.

About the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network
The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) is a voluntary, non-regulatory coalition whose mission is the conservation of shorebird species and their habitats across the Americas. Created in 1985 as a visionary approach to addressing shorebird conservation needs, WHSRN today consists of 64 sites in eight nations and over 21 million acres. Working in conjunction with hundreds of landowners, land trusts, corporations and national governments, WHSRN is the only hemisphere-wide conservation program focused on protecting shorebirds. WHSRN is a key program of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Manomet, Massachusetts, USA. For more information, please visit www.whsrn.org.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the Nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded over 8,000 grants to nearly 3,000 organizations in the United States and abroad and leverage–with its partners–more than $340 million in federal funds, for a total of over $1 billion in conservation. For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.

For press inquiries, contact:

Rob Kluin
508-224-6521, ext. 224
rkluin@manomet.org


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