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Proceedings of
Waterbird Conservation Council
2011 Annual Meeting

February 15-17, 2011
Santa Marta, Colombia
Contact for the meeting: Jennifer Wheeler


The Waterbird Conservation Council (Council) is the steering body of the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas initiative and has responsibility for planning, coordinating, supporting, and communicating the implementation activities to further waterbird conservation in the Western Hemisphere. The annual meeting is designed to strengthen relationships between its members and infuse energy and momentum for work in the following year. In addition, annual meetings are structured to provide support and visibility for waterbird conservation activities of local hosts.



Full Participants List


Waterbird Conservation Council Members and Guests in Santa Marta, Colombia. Left to right: Rob Clay, Lourdes Múgica, Garry Donaldson, Paul Schmidt, Carol Lively, Arturo May, Ghisselle Alvarado, Rosable Miró, Fernando Castillo, Ann Sutton, Rebeca Franke, Alejandro Bastidas, Jennifer Wheeler, Francisco Rilla, Sara Lara, Richard Johnston, Carlos Ruiz, Rosa Montañez, Alberto Yanosky.


Download Full Summary/Resumen

Summary of Outcomes of the 2011 Annual Meeting

Accomplishments in 2010

Council staff and working group leaders reported on the Council’s action items and accomplishments of the previous year. Under the two-year Chairmanship of Rosa Montañez, the Council saw an increase in visibility and activity. Members were tasked with greater commitment and involvement, and activities were more focused and tracked.

Presentations and Readings
Introduction by Chair - Rosa Montañez
2010 Council Activities in Addition to Workplan - Jennifer Wheeler
2010 Council Workplan Action Items Summary plus Attachments

Work Planning for 2011

Working groups reexamined and confirmed priority areas for action and developed action items for 2011, which build on the successes of the previous year.

Priority areas for action continue to be:

  • Technical Services: continue to focus on the need for monitoring to generate improved information on the status and distribution of waterbird populations. Planning for an Americas-wide status assessment was also identified as a priority.
  • Outreach to Decision‐Makers: continue site-specific support as case studies and synthesize lessons learned to illustrate how to engage decision-makers most effectively.
  • Strengthening Regional‐Scale Conservation: provide training and coordination of monitoring programs in Central America, and complete continental synthesis and partners directory for South America.
  • Supporting Hemispheric‐Scale Approaches: continue to embrace the concept of working in a hemispheric context, by sharing information, looking for collaborative opportunities, and supporting any emerging multilateral Flyway initiatives. The actions, along with the suggestion that future efforts to develop Flyway initiatives in the Americas include a careful analysis of the barriers to collaboration, were carried to the CMS‐sponsored Flyways Working Group meeting that took place in Edinburgh immediately after the Council Meeting.

Pics from Coastal Colombia

The Importance of Colombia's Caribbean Zone to Waterbirds
The annual meeting was scheduled so that participants could visibly support the local host organization, Asociación Calidris, and their partners in their activities to conserve waterbirds and their habitats. At the meeting, representatives from Parque Nacionales Naturales described some of the issues in the region, including the need to train managers to study and monitor resources under their care, to integrate research and monitoring results to answer management questions, to operate and manage parks as a network, and to increase the political power of resource managers by promoting the need for healthy wetlands for human services. Asociación Calidris is responding to these issues, especially in the area of site assessment and monitoring by providing relevant training for park and protected area personnel. Since 1991, this organization has coordinated the Neotropical Waterbird Census, and as the Council meeting fell within the census period, some Council members were able to join Asociación Calidris as they involved park personnel in conducting the census in the Cienaga Grande.


PNN logo
With good field information, Asociación Calidris and partners can seek designation for a site important to waterbirds (e.g., as an Important Bird Area, a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site, a Ramsar site) and ideally, protection. Unfortunately, designation does not necessarily mean protection from threats. The Council visited Parque de Isla Salamanca, a long narrow park fronting the Caribbean Sea and forming the north boundary of Cienaga Grande. The park is already greatly affected by a highway, the Autopista de las Américas, which is slated for expansion. The Council has offered to support park personnel in describing the importance of the site to waterbirds and exploring the possibility of alternative engineering designs to minimize damage to and possibly restore natural hydrological conditions.



Asociación Calidris acted as the local host for the meeting. Financial support for meeting costs and travel grants was received from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Canadian Wildlife Service.

Arturo May provided simultaneous interpretation.





Last Updated May 23, 2011
U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) is supporting the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas Home Page as part of its contribution to North American Waterbird Conservation Plan (NAWCP). It is being served by the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Information provided in this site does not necessarily have the endorsement of the USGS.