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Monday, January 29 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
SYMPOSIA-04: Integrating Grassland Birds into Conservation Planning in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region

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AUTHORS. Rocky Pritchert, Neal D. Niemuth, Mike E. Estey, Brian Wangler, Adam J. Ryba, Ned Wright, Chuck R. Loesch - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Terry L. Shaffer, US Geological Survey; Dan R. Hertel, S. P. Fields - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT. The grassland and wetland complexes that make the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) so important to breeding waterfowl also make the PPR important to grassland birds, but both habitat types are experiencing continued loss in the region. Habitat conservation efforts for waterfowl have resulted in the protection of approximately 1.9 million acres of wetlands and 1.7 million acres of grasslands in the U.S. PPR, with funding primarily coming from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and partners such as Ducks Unlimited. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat and Population Evaluation Team has developed a suite of spatial decision-support tools to inform conservation decisions in the PPR, focusing primarily on waterfowl, grassland birds, upland-nesting shorebirds, and marshbirds. These tools are used to prioritize land parcels for fee and easement acquisition, assess benefits of conservation efforts such as the Conservation Reserve Program, demonstrate benefits of waterfowl conservation efforts to non-waterfowl species, and evaluate effects of potential changes in climate and land use. Using these tools, the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture has identified 1.7 million acres of unprotected grasslands and 468,000 acres of unprotected wetlands as priorities for conservation that will provide benefits to multiple bird species groups. Criticisms that waterfowl conservation efforts are not optimal for non-game species are often based on misconceptions and false dichotomies that pit wildlife species groups against each other, divert attention from more important issues such as habitat loss, and devalue conservation efforts that benefit many species.

Monday January 29, 2018 4:00pm - 4:20pm CST