Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
North American Waterbird Monitoring Programof the Waterbirds for the Americas Initiative
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General Information What is a Waterbird? Database Access Waterbird Monitoring Manual Standardized Field Form North American Waterbird Conservation Plan Waterbird Conservation for the Americas initiative

General Information

Throughout the Americas, the destruction of freshwater wetlands, destruction and degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems, contaminants, sea level rise, and human disturbance influence waterbird populations. For some species, especially pelagic seabirds, these actions have resulted in declines in numbers; less often, they have resulted in waterbird species becoming nuisance wildlife. A critical element of conserving and managing waterbirds is a comprehensive monitoring program. Waterbird conservation planning and management decisions depend on measuring and evaluating population change as a basis for setting policy, identifying management and research priorities, and evaluating management actions. 

Individuals across the continent are often faced with decisions that influence waterbird populations. Although some waterbirds have been counted for decades, numerous survey methodologies have been implemented over different spatial scales, resulting in data sets that cannot be compared. Too often, monitoring programs have been initiated without any thought given to future data use. The Waterbird Conservation for the Americas initiative, of which the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan is one product, has identified the need to establish a Waterbird Monitoring Partnership. The goal of the Waterbird Monitoring Partnership is to develop a continental network of collaborators who agree to and implement comparable population monitoring techniques and contribute to a centrally managed waterbird database. This continent-wide waterbird monitoring partnership was initially coordinated by the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. As of late 2011, it is being coordinated by USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management. Please see the database page for more information.  

bottom background lines U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Laurel, MD, USA 20708-4038
Contact: Bruce Peterjohn,
Last Modified: 07/13/01
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