Sea Ducks: The Stars of an International Conference
Sea ducks have been the subject of increasing conservation concern over
the past decade. To facilitate information exchange among researchers
and managers, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s Sea
Duck Joint Venture hosted the North American Sea Duck Conference—the
first meeting of its kind—in Victoria, British Columbia, in November
2002. Joint venture partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Canadian Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.,
and the Atlantic and Pacific Flyway Councils, along with the Pacific Coast
Joint Venture, sponsored the event.
Although the conference focused on North American sea ducks, participants
came from throughout the Northern Hemisphere. More than 200 scientists
representing the United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, Denmark, Sweden,
Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, and Lithuania attended, highlighting
the shared nature and broad concern for sea ducks in the northern latitudes.
In addition to scientific presentations made over 3 days, a series of
workshops offered new information on satellite telemetry technology, sea
duck genetics, industry relations, effects of contaminants, survey techniques,
sea duck diving and foraging, and effects of aquaculture.
Conference Chairman Dr. Dan Esler and his staff from Simon Fraser University
in British Columbia received well-deserved kudos for what several attendees
described as the “perfect conference.” A second sea duck conference
is tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2005.
Abstracts of papers and posters presented at the conference are available
at the Sea Duck Joint Venture Web site: www.seaduckjv.org.
Tim Bowman, Sea Duck Joint Venture
(907) 786-3569, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Environmental Methods Index
On the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS) announced a new, standardized, Web-searchable database of environmental
methods that will allow scientists and managers monitoring water quality
to compare data collection methods at a glance and find the method that
best meets their needs. Called NEMI (National Environmental Methods Index),
this free online resource also allows water-quality monitoring data to
be shared among different agencies and organizations. The NEMI is accessible
with standard Internet access and browser. The USGS developed the database
in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other
partners in the federal, state, and private sectors.
The NEMI contains chemical, microbiological, and radiochemical methods
summaries of lab and field protocols for regulatory and non-regulatory
water-quality analyses. In the future, NEMI will be expanded to include
biological methods along with additional field and laboratory methods.
The index is a powerful tool, providing a summary of the procedures and
performance data needed to assess methods. Critical data on sensitivity,
accuracy, precision, instrumentation, source, and relative cost are produced
as tabular reports, and full methods are linked to the summaries.
Said Dr. Robert Hirsch, USGS Associate Director for Water: "This
will save a lot of time and effort for everyone, offering a single place
on the Internet where people can search for information about suitable,
well-documented methods of monitoring, and it will add to everyone's ability
to share the results of their monitoring programs."
Visit www.nemi.gov to delve into water-quality databases that can help
you with your conservation projects.
Butch Kinerney, U. S. Geological Survey
(703) 648-4732, email@example.com
Prairies to Patagonia
Shorebirds certainly didn’t earn their moniker by swarming the
prairies, but they’re not all at the coastal shores, either. Millions
of them use the less heavily traveled route through the continent’s
interior to migrate between the Canadian Arctic and the tip of South America.
This lesser known fact is no secret to those involved in the Western
Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and the North American Waterfowl
Management Plan’s Prairie Pothole Joint Venture. For years, they
have tracked these birds’ movements through the heart of the hemisphere—from
the prairies to Patagonia—and have established a Web site to share
what they’ve learned.
Their site, “Shorebirds: Prairies to Patagonia,” is loaded
with interesting information about these shorebirds, and will appeal to
environmental educators, students, natural resources managers, children,
and birders alike. The site offers nine main pages, each addressing a
different topic: Shorebirds answers an array
of your most basic questions about these birds; Education
and Resources informs teachers about shorebird-related publications,
maps, posters, videos, programs, and events; Habitat
describes shorebirds’ habitat needs and how different ecosystems
along the central migration route meet those needs; Images
contains a shorebird “Hall of Fame,” with photos of several
of the species found in the Prairie Pothole Region, basic statistics on
each, and links to information about their wintering sites; Maps
houses examples of various maps available that depict shorebird migration
routes, species distributions, and conservation areas; Fun
Facts offers shorebird factoids and tests your knowledge with entertaining
quizzes; Go International lets you click
on a map of the Western Hemisphere and find out which shorebirds are found
in each country and what type of habitat they’re using; What
Can I Do? helps you to become involved in shorebird conservation,
at any level; and Links directs you to other
to start your virtual, winged journey through the Western Hemisphere.
Timber Company Keeps Oklahoma Acres Open
The Hancock Timber Resource Group (Hancock) will keep Oklahoma sportsmen
smiling another year. That’s because the 7-year partnership agreement
between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (Department)
and Hancock will provide public access to more than 215,000 acres of Hancock’s
privately owned Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area for hunting, fishing,
and recreational trail riding.
Hancock has chosen to collaborate with the Department, which helps regulate
and maintain the habitat for public use. The Department sells some 17,000
use permits annually. Oklahoma residents pay $16 for a permit, nonresidents,
$25. Hunters generally account for 75 percent of the purchases. “For
hunters to have access to so many acres for such a small fee is unique,”
said Kyle Johnson, a Department biologist at Honobia Creek.
Other organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation are contributing
to the partnership’s efforts. The Federation’s Oklahoma State
Chapter has funded the installation of gates and signs and has purchased
seeds and fertilizer for plantings along the roadsides of walk-in turkey
areas. These areas are open to turkey hunters during the spring and fall
seasons. State-chapter volunteers also funded prescribed burns, painted
gates, and provided equipment for habitat enhancement. They raise money
for such projects through banquets, individual donations, and corporate
sponsors. Proceeds are deposited in the Wild Turkey Super Fund, which
supports a variety of projects in the State.
“Hancock and the Department have really given sportsmen a chance
to enjoy the outdoors for a small price,” said Dr. James Earl Kennamer,
the Federation’s senior vice-president of conservation programs.
“We hope to help strengthen this relationship and enhance habitat
for the wild turkey and other wildlife species.”
Jason Gilbertson, National Wild Turkey Federation
(803) 637-3106, firstname.lastname@example.org
Endangered Parrots Score Major Victory
November 12, 2002, marked a day of victory for endangered parrots. That
was the day that the more than 100 member-nations attending the 12th Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and
Flora voted to ban the commercial trade of yellow-naped parrot (Amazona
auropalliata), yellow-headed parrot (Amazona oratrix), and
blue-headed macaw (Ara couloni). Formerly, such trade was allowed
by permit with restricted quotas.
Flashy plumage and the ability to imitate human speech have long made
these parrots attractive pets. The harvesting of adult birds and poaching
of nestlings for the pet-bird trade are the primary reasons these species’
populations are in decline, followed by habitat destruction. Their survival
is further challenged by small clutch sizes (just two to four eggs) and
nestlings that require intense care and and can take up to 3 years to
reach reproductive maturity. The yellow-headed parrot population alone
has suffered a 90-percent decline since the 1970s. Only an estimated 7,000
individuals remain in the wild.
The celebrated outcome of this United Nations-sponsored meeting in Santiago,
Chile, is largely the result of the diligent efforts of Dr. Eduardo Iñigo-Elias,
a parrot specialist and head of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s
Neotropical Bird Conservation Program. He assisted several countries’
governments in developing the body of technical information needed to
support the ban. “The CITES decision is glowing proof of the good
that can happen when nations pull together,” attests Dr. Iñigo-Elias.
Allison Wells, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
(607) 254-2475, email@example.com
2003 Conservation Stamp Coming
Ron Louque of Charlottesville, Virginia, has been entering one of the
Nation’s most prestigious wildlife art contests each year for the
past 30 years. Patience and persistence, not to mention talent, gave him
the long awaited prize: his artwork appears on the 2003 Migratory Bird
Hunting and Conservation Stamp. More popularly known as the “Duck
Stamp” by hunters, other conservationists, and philatelists, the
current year’s stamp features two snow geese, kissed by early evening
light, flying over Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Law mandates that hunters aged 16 years and older purchase the stamp.
Philatelists purchase the stamp because of its intrinsic value as a collectible.
Others purchase the stamp because they know that 98 cents out of every
dollar spent on the stamp goes directly into the Migratory Bird Conservation
Fund to conserve wetlands and associated habitats for inclusion in the
National Wildlife Refuge System. So, whether you are a birder, a stamp
collector, a hunter, or someone who just enjoys visiting our national
wildlife refuges, the stamp is a good conservation investment. Since its
inception in 1934, the Duck Stamp Program has raised more than $600 million
to conserve more than 5 million acres of habitat for America’s refuge
The 2003 stamp can be purchased beginning July 1. It only takes $15.00
to make a significant contribution to wildlife conservation. By adding
your stamp purchase to that of others, we can expand familiar havens and
establish new ones, so that our Nation’s wildlife, and those passing
through, will always have a place to raise young, feed, and rest.
For information on how to purchase a Duck Stamp, visit duckstamps.fws.gov,
or in the United States, call Amplex toll free at (800) 852-4897 or the
U.S. Postal Service at (800) 782-6724.
Terry Bell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(703) 358-2002, firstname.lastname@example.org