The GCJV was originally formed in response to the 1986 North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and initially focused on waterfowl habitat conservation. This focus changed to include the other bird groups, landbirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds, around 2005. Similiar to waterfowl, each of these additional bird groups have either a national or continental conservation plan. Since then, part of the GCJV's responsibilities has been to coordinate and implement all 4 of these national/continental bird conservation plans within the Gulf Coastal Prairie Bird Conservation Region (BCR), as well as portions of several other BCRs. Our regional partnership guides member organizations to meet objectives established by state, national, and international bird conservation plans as well as to coordinate landscape-level conservation efforts for native birds and their habitats. Information on each of these conservation plans is given below.
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan stands strong on a contemporary and visionary foundation established with the 2012 Revision and Action Plan. The Revision fundamentally examined the underpinnings of NAWMP and set a new strategic direction for the future. Since 2012, those individuals and organizations committed to the goals, objectives, and recommendations of the 2012 Revision (hereafter, “waterfowl management community” or “NAWMP community”) have built upon the legacy of effective, science-informed, and partner-based conservation by rising to the challenge to implement the new “people” goal and revised objectives for waterfowl populations and habitat. This effort meant significant adjustments in leadership, partnerships, and technical expertise to integrate work across goals and objectives and to apply an adaptive framework to it all. The waterfowl management community responded quickly and positively to what has required perhaps the biggest philosophical and strategic change in the history of NAWMP
Implementing the 2012 Revision entailed substantial foundational work to reassess technical and institutional tools. While laudable progress has been made in carrying out the Action Plan, much remains to be done. Consequently, the purpose of the 2018 Plan Update is to summarily document the achievements under the 2012 Revision, reaffirm and provide fresh focus on what remains to be accomplished in light of the lessons learned, and rekindle the professional passion and resilience needed to advance the NAWMP over the next five to ten years. This Update retains the same goals and objectives as stated in the 2012 Revision and its 2014 Addendum.
In the eight years since 2012, the waterfowl management community, under the leadership of the Plan Committee, developed revised objectives, wrestled with the concept of integrated decision making, and recommitted to adaptive management. The biggest achievement has been applying social sciences toward the third goal of increasing the numbers of waterfowl hunters and other conservationists across North America—to effectively connect people with waterfowl habitat. Due in large part to the guidance and diligence of the Interim Integration Committee, the Human Dimensions Working Group,1 and the Public Engagement Team, this embryonic effort emerged while the professional community unwaveringly continued to build on the success of the NAWMP in conserving waterfowl populations and their habitats. The 2018 Plan Update outlines examples of progress toward the NAWMP goals and objectives at various geographic scales. These case studies demonstrate successful, innovative, partnership-based approaches by Joint Ventures and other groups and demonstrate the spirit and direction of the 2012 Revision.
The U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan presents the major conclusions and recommendations of the technical and regional working groups that contributed to the development of a coordinated national initiative for shorebird conservation. Many of the details pertaining to the development of specific goals and objectives are presented in the accompanying technical reports, which are part of the Plan and are listed at the end of this document. These additional reports should be consulted whenever greater detail is required. This document is intended to provide an overview of the current status of shorebirds, the conservation challenges facing them, current opportunities for integrated conservation, broad goals for the conservation of shorebird species and subspecies, and specific programs necessary to meet the overall vision of restoring stable and self-sustaining populations of all shorebirds.
This 2016 Plan Revision documents widespread declines in populations of many of the 448 species of landbirds in the U.S. and Canada—a foreboding indicator that the health of ecosystems upon which we all depend is being degraded. Although we have made much progress over the past 20 years, the daunting task of conserving several hundred landbird species across vast and varied landscapes under diverse ownership requires unprecedented levels of cooperation among the public, private, and industrial sectors.
In 2004, Partners in Flight (PIF) published the first North American Landbird Conservation Plan (NALCP, Rich et al.), presenting the results of a comprehensive landbird species vulnerability assessment for the U.S. and Canada. The 2004 NALCP presented a Watch List that identified the species of highest conservation concern, along with a summary of their status, monitoring needs, and the first estimates of population size, leading to bold continental population objectives. Compelling new science that refines the biological foundation of our conservation indicators and objectives, combined with new opportunities for conservation throughout the full lifecycle of these species, prompted us to revise and update the Plan.
The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan (the Plan) is the product of an independent partnership of individuals and institutions having interest and responsibility for conservation of waterbirds and their habitats in the Americas. This partnership—Waterbird Conservation for the Americas—was created to support a vision in which the distribution, diversity, and abundance of populations and habitats of breeding, migratory, and nonbreeding waterbirds are sustained or restored throughout the lands and waters of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The Plan provides a continental-scale framework for the conservation and management of 210 species of waterbirds, including seabirds, coastal waterbirds, wading birds, and marshbirds utilizing aquatic habitats in 29 nations throughout North America, Central America, the islands and pelagic waters of the Caribbean Sea and western Atlantic, the U.S.-associated Pacific Islands and pelagic waters of the Pacific. Birds as familiar as herons, loons, pelicans, and gulls, as well as the lesser known albatrosses, petrels, auks, and rails are among the species considered in the Plan. These birds' dependence on aquatic habitats such as wooded swamps, stream corridors, salt marshes, barrier islands, continental shelf waters and open pelagic waters make them especially vulnerable to the myriad threats facing water and wetland resources globally. In addition, the congregatory behavior of many waterbirds increases population risks by concentrating populations in limited areas.