Enhancing Ontario’s Important Bird Areas Program and Volunteer Network

Final Report: Enhancing Ontario’s Important Bird Areas Program and Volunteer Network

Project by Bird Studies Canada.

Location: Ontario

  • West End of Lake Ontario IBA
  • Wolfe Island IBA
  • Niagara River Corridor IBA
  • Prince Edward County IBA

For more information on this project, please contact Andrew Couturier, Senior Analyst, Port Rowan, ON.

Purpose

The IBA Program is an international program to identify, monitor, and conserve the world’s most important sites for birds and biodiversity and is led in Canada by Bird Studies Canada with the national partner, Nature Canada and support from a number of provincial and local partners. Increasingly, IBAs are being recognized and managed for their broader biodiversity. IBAs make excellent focal sites for conservation activities.  A key aspect of the IBA Program in Canada is the IBA Caretaker Network – local stewards (groups or individuals) who are the “eyes, ears, and hands” on the ground at IBAs across the country. The IBA program exemplifies the combination of sound science and a partnership approach to conserve birds and biodiversity.

The vast majority of IBAs in Ontario and Canada are focussed on wetland species and habitats, as most are designated for significant concentrations of waterfowl and other waterbirds. The sites selected for targeted work as part of this project regularly host globally significant congregations of several Eastern Habitat Joint Venture priority species (e.g., Tundra Swan, American Black Duck, Long-tailed Duck) as well as large congregations of many other waterfowl species including EHJV priority species such as Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Black Scoter, Mallard, and Canada Goose.

The goal of this project is to increase the understanding, awareness, and conservation of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Ontario and beyond.

The project will do its part toward improved monitoring and habitat conservation of the most important sites for birds and biodiversity by engaging the public and volunteer stewards in conservation activities.

Contribution to Goal #3 of the 2012 NAWMP Revision: ““Growing numbers of waterfowl hunters, other conservationists, and citizens who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation.”

This project directly contributes to the goal of growing the number of people (hunters, other conservationists, and citizens) who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation in many ways. Through survey blitzes and training workshops, we will enable Caretakers and interested volunteers to take part in sound science that will make a difference to birds and other biodiversity and habitat conservation at IBAs around the province. The project will generate new information about the importance of wetlands and wetland conservation at IBAs in Ontario to the general public.

Long-term conservation impacts and benefits

As a result of this project, the IBA Caretaker network will grow in Ontario and across the country, which will lead to increased capacity for sound science in the form of rigorous monitoring of bird populations at IBAs. In addition, the increased capacity of the overall IBA Caretaker network will result in increased conservation, restoration and enhancement of habitat over the longer term as stewards engage in local actions.

Stewardship

The main activity will be to engage new and existing Caretakers for key IBAs and provide technical support for setting up monitoring and other stewardship activities at these sites. Some of the work currently carried out by IBA Caretakers at some sites includes targeted monitoring, habitat restoration, outreach activities, invasive species monitoring, other biodiversity monitoring, and land acquisition.