Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 01:46:01 -0400
Reply-To: Eran Tomer <etomer@EMORY.EDU>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Eran Tomer <etomer@EMORY.EDU>
Subject: International Shorebird Surveys (fwd)
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
Perhaps someone is interested in this program ? Looks like anyone visiting
Atlanta's E. L. Huie or other inland locations on a halfway regular basis
can make a real contribution. Please reply to the sender directly.
- Eran Tomer
---------- Forwarded message ---------- [snipped]
From: Brian Harrington <email@example.com>
Subject: International Shorebird Surveys
... Ga. Piedmont during the southward migration: we are eager to get
coverage from all locations, but especially from inland locals in
southeastern states where our coverage has been weak.
I have added below some 'propaganda' about our project. We ask for one count
to be made every 10 days or so during July-Oct, but I would welcome partial
coverage as well. If you would like to know more about the project, I will
gladly send more detailed information. Thanks for considering this request.
International Shorebird Surveys
Volunteers for informed conservation
Shorebirds are hemispheric globetrotters whose migrations include
long-distance, nonstop flights often exceeding a thousand miles. To
complete these extraordinary flights shorebirds must lay on large fuel
reserves. In many of the 40 common North American species fat is
accumulated at food-rich staging areas. There apparently are few places
having the right combination of resources, for in some cases between 50 and
80% of the entire population of a species may visit a single site. It
therefore appears that loss of critical staging areas could devastate
Most shorebird staging sites are marine or nonmarine wetlands. According to
governmental studies, there are roughly 90 million acres of wetlands in the
lower 48 states, 95% of which are nonmarine and located inland; the balance
are marine or estuarine. More than half of the US wetlands have been
destroyed since European settlement, including more than 90% in some key
states like California and Iowa. In spite of regulations, wetland
conversion and destruction is proceeding; mitigation attempts evidently are
not successfully replacing the critical wildlife resources that are lost.
Today most wetland wildlife species are in population decline; according to
a 1995 study, at least 16 of 26 shorebird species examined were threatened
or in serious population decline -- 1 was increasing.
In 1974 Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences organized the International
Shorebird Surveys (ISS) to gather information on shorebirds and the wetlands
they use. One motive was to learn how various species depend on particular
wetlands and migration corridors. Having fostered some 50,000 census counts
from more than 600 sites, the take-home message now is clear; many species
of shorebirds depend on strategic migration staging sites.
The ISS data confirmed the need for forming the Western Hemisphere Shorebird
Reserve Network (WHSRN), a program that works to build protection for
strategic migration sites. ISS data also have been used in identifying
sites in North and South America that qualify for inclusion in WHSRN, for
charting migration timing at key sites, and for developing an atlas to
provide conservation and wildlife professionals basic information needed for
making effective decisions.
Because shorebirds are hemispheric globetrotters, documenting their
migrations requires a large information-gathering network that spans all of
the Americas. Costs of paying for this work would be prohibitive, so the
ISS is developed around a volunteer base to gather needed information. To
date more than 900 people have contributed information; the project is
ongoing and continues to need additional volunteer help.
ISS data are used principally for conservation and management initiatives.
During the last 5 years ISS evaluations have helped formulate practices in
federal agencies as varied as the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of
Defense, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as dozens of state
agencies. ISS data have provided pivotal information used in federal and
state management training programs. Data also are provided to researchers
who meet program conditions.
The ISS data files now include more than 50,000 censuses, with about 1300
added each year by 50-100 cooperators. Cooperators are asked to census a
location selected by the cooperator three times monthly during key migration
periods. Less frequently collected counts also are welcome, especially from
regions where information is sparse. Researchers planning other uses for
their data may contribute with restrictions on how their data may be used,
or they may archive appropriate data with the ISS on completion of projects.
For additional information, please visit www/manomet.org (the wetlands
section) or contact the International Shorebird Surveys, Manomet Center for
Conservation Sciences, PO Box 1770, Manomet, MA USA 02345. Email