Forty people from as far away as Montana and Texas were in our Fort Collins office for three days last week to strategize on how to best accomplish seamless bird monitoring across the western landscape.
These representatives of 15 federal, state and private partners and RMBO’s science staff have conducted the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program for the past three years. Collectively, we identify trends and population patterns more quickly by all working under the same monitoring framework. The results must be scalable so field biologists with the BLM or the Forest Service get data that help guide management of their forest or grassland units while also contributing to the bigger picture across the West’s grasslands, arid lands, forests and streams at state and regional levels.
Among the topics participants discussed were:
- best practices for engaging and working with private landowners to gain access for monitoring surveys;
- survey protocols;
- applying our existing data to guide management of private and public lands;
- applying new statistical theory and techniques for improved monitoring.
Results from the meeting will guide the 2012 field season, with RMBO coordinating the effort – from fieldwork to data analysis. In 2011, when an area the size of Egypt— more than 1,000,000 square kilometers of habitat – was surveyed, RMBO conducted 70 percent of the surveys and 100 percent of the data analysis.