Now that fall is upon us in the Rockies, RMBO biologists and technicians are finishing proofing data gathered this summer under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. It’s not glamorous, but with proofing data comes the confirmation of cool new species for the program. Biologist Nick Van Lanen reports on the summer field season and species detected for the first time during IMBCR surveys.
Did you know that roughly 60% of the land area in the United States is privately owned? That amounts to a lot of land, about 1.43 billion acres. These lands not only provide the food, fiber, energy and timber that make our nation hum, but harbor some of the most important habitat for birds. Released yesterday, the State of the Birds 2013 report, with contributions from RMBO, focuses on these private lands and their importance for successful stewardship of birds and their habitats in the U.S.
RMBO’s field crew discovered its first Mountain Plover nest of the season on May 8. After the cold start to spring, this newly laid nest with a clutch of three eggs was an important find. Biologist Larry Snyder writes about the find and RMBO’s plover nest conservation program on the RMBO blog.
Before conducting field surveys, RMBO staff contact landowners for permission to access their land. Through these series of phone conversations and e-mail exchanges, a similar question from landowners often arises, “Why do you want to survey that particular location, especially when there are better birding spots nearby?”
Grady Grissom, a rancher in southeast Colorado, had a problem playa. Someone had pitted a playa lake on his ranch many decades earlier to make a deeper water pond for cattle. While good for cattle, it concentrated the water into the pit, degrading the wetland habitat for other wildlife. To solve the problem, he turned to the Stewardship team at Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory for help.
Last week, RMBO Private Lands Wildlife Biologist Colin Lee conducted a meeting and tour with NRCS leadership and partners, including representatives from CPW, USFWS, Ducks Unlimited and Playa Lakes Joint Venture, to discuss the results of a comprehensive inventory of 52 NRCS Wetland Reserve Program easements along the South Platte River in eastern Colorado.
Earlier this year, I started working with a landowner who controls more than 160 acres and 3,300 feet of riparian area along the Dolores River in the heart of the Paradox Valley in western Colorado. As a novel approach to restoration monitoring on her property, I suggested we emulate the BioBlitz strategy to establish a baseline inventory of the property.
Some of Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s stewardship staff were in Pinedale, Wyoming, in late June to celebrate Sage Grouse Initiative successes with partners from national and state agencies, nonprofits and landowner organizations. Billed as “wildlife conservation through sustainable agriculture,” SGI is a model for voluntary private-lands conservation.
The new Fall/Winter edition of The All-Bird Bulletin features five stories about RMBO’s work. See pages 12 -16 to read: “New Model Identifies Bird Habitat Use at Multiple Scales,” “‘Boots on the Ground’ Expands Habitat Conservation,” “Taking Outreach from the Land to the Classroom Builds Future Conservation Ethic,” “Critical Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands Rapidly Give Way to the Plow” and “Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR)”.