This article is the seventh installment in the series Achieving Partners in Flight Strategic Goals and Objectives.
Klamath Bird Observatory is working with local restoration partners to integrate Partners in Flight priorities and objectives into private lands restoration programs. The Central Umpqua Mid Klamath Oak Habitat Conservation Project, funded by the NRCS Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, is a landscape-scale effort to restore oak woodlands on private lands in southern Oregon and northern California. As a part of this project 15 public and private partners leveraged over $3.8 million to restore 2,000 acres of Oregon white oak habitat.
Lomakatsi Restoration Project and Klamath Bird Observatory are using objectives from regional Partners in Flight (PIF) conservation plans to guide the restoration. Habitat objectives for Oak Titmouse, Acorn Woodpecker, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and other oak woodland species are providing details for management prescriptions designed to create oak woodland habitat mosaics, restore native perennial grasses, and reintroduce natural fire regimes whenever possible. Bird monitoring is being integrated into habitat monitoring efforts to assess the effectiveness of restoration based on PIF population objectives. This unique collaboration received the 2012 Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award.
Download the Partners in Flight Conservation Brief for this project by clicking here. Also see the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands that highlighted this collaborative oak restoration project in the section on western forest conservation.
This article is the sixth installment in the series Achieving Partners in Flight Strategic Goals and Objectives.
An important bird conservation goal is to integrate Partners in Flight priorities and objectives into public agency natural resource planning and action. Partners in Flight uses a science-based method for bird conservation that incorporates a multi-species approach for assessing landbird vulnerabilities and needs, setting measurable conservation targets, describing management to meet these targets, and measuring the effectiveness of conservation actions. This approach can help land managers meet their ecosystem management needs. By aligning science, planning, and implementation among partners, we can more strategically implement actions that address priority science and habitat needs.
This strategic goal builds upon ten examples that illustrate both the process and science behind bird conservation throughout the western United States. These examples were recently featured in Informing Ecosystem Management: Science and Process for Landbird Conservation in the Western United States, a Biological Technical Publication published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The publication (1) describes how bird conservation and effectiveness monitoring can be integrated into land management guidelines with an emphasis on partnerships, and (2) presents case studies which highlight bird monitoring within the adaptive management framework. The publication emphasizes both the science of monitoring and the process of its integration into land management because both are necessary in order for effectiveness monitoring to fully impact decision making.
Collaborating with national and regional partners, Klamath Bird Observatory is working toward better integrating the Partners in Flight approach within federal management planning and implementation. At the 2012 annual meeting of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, we had an opportunity to present specific examples of how the tools developed by Partners in Flight can tie into natural resource management planning to an array of national resource management leaders. We then teamed up with partners in Oregon and Washington to take the message on the road, presenting a traveling workshop that provided training to a wider audience on the use of Partners in Flight tools for assessing conservation needs, setting quantifiable management objectives, evaluating management alternatives, and monitoring management effectiveness.
We are now following up with regional partners to provide guidance on the process for identifying species that can serve as indicators of habitat and/or ecosystem condition at geographic scales appropriate for various land management and monitoring purposes. We are working with Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management partners to develop projects that focus on using Partners in Flight’s conservation planning process in support of broad scaled and project level planning. The recently published Habitat Conservation for Landbirds in Coniferous Forests of Western Oregon and Washington (Oregon-Washington Partners in Flight) is serving to guide these efforts. This plan identifies 25 focal species that collectively represent the important habitat components of a functioning coniferous forest ecosystem.
Klamath Bird Observatory works with private landowners to encourage bird-friendly practices. Working with our partners, we also guide and assess restoration on private lands. We use birds as indicators of the health of the environment because they are diverse and individual species represent specific ecological conditions. Similarly to each individual landowner, each bird species has its own story to tell. By listening to those stories we can learn about the quality of the habitats that birds inhabit and identify restoration actions that can improve the health of the land.
For private landowners considering restoration of their land, understanding the existing and potential future bird community is a good way to grasp the ecological changes that are possible through restoration. Recently, KBO has been working with a number of landowners who are implementing oak restoration. When we visit lands prior to restoration, the bird community we hear tells us about the current habitat characteristics. For example, in a mixed-conifer forest with an oak component we will detect a mixture of birds that prefer both conifers and oaks, or sometimes only conifer-associated birds, such as Red-breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Towhee, Hermit Warbler, and Pacific-slope Flycatcher. If a landowner’s goal is to restore the historic oak woodland, we would expect to see a dramatic shift in the bird community after restoration, to bird species such as White-breasted Nuthatch, California Towhee, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Ash-throated Flycatcher. After learning to identify some of the common birds, landowners begin to see the links between birds and their habitats, and also the possibilities for their land.
The Rotary Foundation and Rotary District 5110 of Oregon and northern California have awarded a Humanitarian Grant of $12,000 to fund an international capacity building project to be implemented in partnership with San Pancho Bird Observatory in Mexico and Ashland-based Klamath Bird Observatory. The Rotary Club of Ashland, collaborating with the Jaltemba Bay Rotary Club of Mexico and supported by Shasta Valley, Bend High Desert, and Cottage Grove Rotary Clubs of District 5110, initially promoted this project and provided the funding required to receive matching awards from Rotary District 5110 and The Rotary Foundation.
This grant will allow the implementation and completion of a project focused on bird conservation and sustainable community development in western Mexico. This project builds on Klamath Bird Observatory’s successful model of developing professional, economic, educational, and conservation capacities in Latin American and Caribbean countries through a grassroots science-based approach to international migratory bird conservation.
A growing tourism industry along the Nayarit coast in Mexico offers low-paying employment that draws Mexican youth out of rural communities where there are fewer career options. Away from their families, these youth become easy recruits into prostitution and drug mafias, leading to the disintegration of social structure. Furthermore, existing tourism projects cause habitat loss that can result in population declines of resident and migratory birds. San Pancho Bird Observatory will use grant funds to build local capacity for careers in science and ecotourism that can benefit communities, maintain social structure, and protect natural resources of global significance.
With support from Klamath Bird Observatory, San Pancho Bird Observatory will train 20 Mexican participants on the science of monitoring bird populations during a two-week workshop in the Pacific State of Nayarit. Workshop participants will then return to their respective communities and develop bird monitoring programs that collectively track the health of Mexican bird populations in the region. Additionally, San Pancho Bird Observatory will offer community education programs in at least six coastal villages to inspire an appreciation for birds and build capacity for birdwatching-based tourism. San Pancho Bird Observatory will also strengthen the connections among coastal Nayarit communities to create networks for support and information exchange related to sustainable development.
This project applies principles of sustainability and recognizes the links between ecosystem conservation, social equity, and economic development. The project meets an international bird conservation priority by building science capacity for Mexican conservation leaders, and also meets economic and community development goals of The Rotary Foundation. Dr. John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director, calls the awarding of this grant “a significant event with regard to sustainability and the links between ecological well-being, economic well-being, and human well-being.”
— Brandon Breen