Presentation Abstract

Tidally-influenced estuarine habitats in the Pacific Northwest are ecologically important wintering and migratory stopover habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl and other marine birds, yet there is limited understanding of how estuarine restoration activities affect avian populations in our region. This is problematic - habitat restoration is considered an important conservation strategy in national and regional waterfowl and shorebird management plans. The Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program Marine Birds Work Group is working to address this information gap through a multi-phase inventory, assessment, and regional implementation project. Our inventory of large-scale estuary restoration projects in Puget Sound reveals that the majority of projects initiated between 1994 and 2016 incorporated bird monitoring (14 of 21 projects). By far, the two most commonly monitored groups were shorebirds and waterfowl (8 projects each). However, avian monitoring objectives, study design, survey methods, monitoring duration, data analysis, and reporting were highly variable amongst projects, hindering comparisons amongst sites. Only one project had specific conservation objectives related to birds and most avian monitoring efforts focused on tracking changes in community composition or abundance over time, rather than testing explicit hypotheses about avian responses. Insufficient funding tended to limit the scope of monitoring activities and projects frequently relied on volunteers to fill data collection needs. The lack of uniformity and explicit objectives in bird monitoring efforts inhibits cross-site comparisons and provides minimal information to understand avian responses to restoration at the project or regional scale. We recommend that restoration practitioners work together with avian ecologists to develop a regional avian monitoring approach for large-scale restoration projects that will inform regional and flyway level conservation plans and management activities, allow evaluation of progress towards conservation objectives, and advance avian habitat restoration science.

Session Title

Shorebird Monitoring in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Avian responses, Puget Sound estuary restoration

Conference Track

SSE7: Monitoring: Species and Habitats

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE7-184

Start Date

4-4-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 3:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 3:30 PM Apr 4th, 3:45 PM

Taking stock of avian responses to Puget Sound estuary restoration: inventory and assessment

Tidally-influenced estuarine habitats in the Pacific Northwest are ecologically important wintering and migratory stopover habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl and other marine birds, yet there is limited understanding of how estuarine restoration activities affect avian populations in our region. This is problematic - habitat restoration is considered an important conservation strategy in national and regional waterfowl and shorebird management plans. The Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program Marine Birds Work Group is working to address this information gap through a multi-phase inventory, assessment, and regional implementation project. Our inventory of large-scale estuary restoration projects in Puget Sound reveals that the majority of projects initiated between 1994 and 2016 incorporated bird monitoring (14 of 21 projects). By far, the two most commonly monitored groups were shorebirds and waterfowl (8 projects each). However, avian monitoring objectives, study design, survey methods, monitoring duration, data analysis, and reporting were highly variable amongst projects, hindering comparisons amongst sites. Only one project had specific conservation objectives related to birds and most avian monitoring efforts focused on tracking changes in community composition or abundance over time, rather than testing explicit hypotheses about avian responses. Insufficient funding tended to limit the scope of monitoring activities and projects frequently relied on volunteers to fill data collection needs. The lack of uniformity and explicit objectives in bird monitoring efforts inhibits cross-site comparisons and provides minimal information to understand avian responses to restoration at the project or regional scale. We recommend that restoration practitioners work together with avian ecologists to develop a regional avian monitoring approach for large-scale restoration projects that will inform regional and flyway level conservation plans and management activities, allow evaluation of progress towards conservation objectives, and advance avian habitat restoration science.