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Conservation IssuesImportant Bird and Birding Areas Program Now In NJ
Pat Sziber

Important Bird and Birding Areas
Program Now In NJ

Pat Sziber

New Jersey is now among the approximately 40 states that have joined the Important Bird Areas (IBA) program, which was initiated by BirdLife International in Europe in the 1980's. More than 3,600 sites in 51 European countries have been identified as IBA's and millions of acres have received better protection as a result. 156 countries around the world now participate in the program. National Audubon, which launched the IBA program in this country in 1995, is the United States Partner Designate of BirdLife International. Programs are established state by state under independent leadership and funding.

Our sister organization, New Jersey Audubon Society, was chosen to administer the New Jersey program, which will be named an Important Bird and Birding Areas Program (IBBA) and has hired Jennifer Mattice to lead the effort. Funding for the start-up, in part, was provided by the Garden State Audubon Council, of which Washington Crossing Audubon is a member. Ms. Mattice did her masters degree thesis research on grassland bird habitat in reclaimed mines in Pennsylvania. The New Jersey program will also be unique in that birds important to New Jersey-or vice versa-but not necessarily threatened or endangered will be included when determining candidate sites. This could include very large populations that represent a large percentage of the overall population. In other words, "Keep common species common."

One of the first steps in the program, establishing criteria for NJ IBBA designation, has already begun. Nominations for candidate sites will be accepted beginning in January 2004. It is expected that a NJ IBBA book will be ready by August 2005. Conservation plans will be developed for priority sites. Workshops with local stakeholder groups will be held to outline conservation plans and site designation will be integrated into existing conservation initiatives and programs. Birders will be invited to join in citizen science monitoring programs.

We look forward to an exciting and productive partnership with New Jersey Audubon Society in this critical endeavor.



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Last revision: Friday, November 28, 2003 - 10:20:41 AM