Upper Mississippi Valley/Great Lakes Shorebird Conservation Plan Now Available

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Upper Mississippi Valley /Great Lakes (UMVGL) Regional Shorebird Conservation Plan.  Version 1.0 of this plan was developed in 2000 and this plan – Version 2.0 – updates that document.  The UMVGL region is a diverse area that provides important habitat for shorebirds, especially migrants.  Thirty-five shorebird species occur regularly in the UMVGL region, and information is provided on their abundance and seasonal occurrence in each of the five Bird Conservation Regions comprising the UMVGL region.  The plan discusses population status, habitat preferences, migration chronology, threats, management, and research, monitoring, and education/outreach needs for the region’s shorebirds.  

All 35 shorebird species that occur regularly in the UMVGL region migrate through the region.  Ten of them also breed there.  The following 20 shorebird species are priorities in the UMVGL region because of their conservation concern category, stewardship status, and/or our ability to take conservation and management actions in the region that will significantly benefit them:  Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, Piping Plover (Great Lakes population), Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, Upland Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit (Great Plains population), Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, White-rumped Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Woodcock, and Wilson’s Phalarope. 


A primary goal of this plan is to guide actions that will ensure the availability of shorebird foraging and nesting sites by protecting, restoring, and managing a variety of habitat types throughout the UMVGL region.  At many intensively managed sites, water level manipulation and other management activities (e.g., burning or disking) can be used to provide shorebird habitat, usually without compromising other wildlife objectives.  The plan builds on the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Joint Venture’s 2007 Shorebird Habitat Conservation Strategy and provides habitat management guidelines for all regularly-occurring shorebirds, specifically by foraging guilds.  Monitoring programs are discussed, with emphasis on standardized protocols such as the International Shorebird Survey and the Breeding Bird Survey. 

Click here to download the UMVGL Shorebird Plan.  If you would like a hard copy of the UMVGL shorebird plan, please contact Nicholl Watkins at nicholl_watkins@fws.gov.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Upper Midwest Migratory Bird Conservation Program recently hired a new biologist, Rachael Pierce, who will be working with our partners on activities related to shorebirds and waterbirds.  If you have questions or comments on the UMVGL shorebird plan, please contact Rachael at rachael_pierce@fws.gov or 517-351-5219. 

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