In recognition of declines among perhaps half of Alaska’s breeding shorebirds, ongoing or emerging threats to shorebirds and their habitats, and considerable knowledge of Alaska’s shorebirds acquired over the past decade, the Alaska Shorebird Group updated the Alaska Shorebird Conservation Plan. This plan is one of eleven regional plans associated with the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan. This document is the third iteration for Alaska, and contains updated conservation objectives and priorities based on the latest information and can be accessed at https://www.fws.gov/alaska/mbsp/mbm/shorebirds/plans.htm.
Bar-tailed Godwit, Inigok, Alaska. Photo: Zak Pohlen
The Plan focuses on conservation issues facing shorebirds in Alaska and contains perspectives for species that breed, use migratory staging sites, or spend the winter in Alaska. Additionally, the Plan recognizes the importance of conserving shorebirds throughout their flyways; shorebird species present in Alaska use five major migratory flyways, including 3 flyways in the Americas, the Central Pacific Flyway, and the East Asia-Australasia flyway.
Similar to Version II (2008), we structured the plan in two parts: Part I identifies Alaska’s nearly 30 priority species, their conservation threats, and strategies/objectives to improve statewide conservation, and Part II considers these three elements for Alaska’s five Bird Conservation Regions (as well as many specific actions). In addition to special recognition paid to species of greatest and high conservation concern, we included “Stewardship” species, defined as those species for which Alaska supports at least half of a population during its annual cycle. Climate change and severe weather, pollution, and energy- and mining-related activities ranked highest among conservation concerns in Alaska. Supplementing our tools for implementing conservation (research, inventory/monitoring, habitat management/protection, education/outreach, international collaboration), we introduced an evaluation of conservation progress to increase accountability. Based on considerable advances in tracking technologies largely unavailable prior to Version II, this plan stresses conservation approaches that recognize species’ full annual cycles.
These revisions reflect the hard work and dedication of shorebird enthusiasts from numerous federal, state, and non-profit agencies, as well as university and private individuals. The plan is only a success to the extent that it proves useful in guiding the conservation of this unique and charismatic wildlife resource. It is with this hope, and with great pleasure, that the Alaska Shorebird Group releases Version III of the Alaska Shorebird Conservation Plan. We hope that it will inspire and lead to many collaborations with the amazing people of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.