The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is collaborating with the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network (GoMAMN) as it continues to facilitate bird monitoring and restoration following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.
Staff from LDWF co-authored two chapter's in GoMAMN's new report "Strategic Bird Monitoring Guidelines for the Northern Gulf of Mexico.'' The report outlines specific measures required to better understand the relevant management actions and ecological processes affecting Gulf birds. The report is advisory in nature and is intended to be a living document updated every five years to reflect increased understanding of bird population dynamics and to capture conservation progress. To see the report, go to https://gomamn.org/strategic-bird-monitoring-guidelines.
GoMAMN was formed to facilitate the collection and utilization of bird monitoring data to inform conservation and restoration decision-making. GoMAMN is a self-organized group of federal, state, academic and non-profit organization scientists and managers who use the principles of structured decision making to prioritize guidelines for avian monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico. LDWF, which has been part of the organization since its inception, is represented on the GoMAMN Coordination Committee by LDWF Nongame Ornithologist Robert Dobbs.
The historic oil spill, which impacted all five Gulf of Mexico states, highlighted the risk presented to the coastal habitats and offshore waters of the northern Gulf, one of the most ecologically and socio-economically important ecosystems on the planet. In addition to the significant detrimental impacts to fisheries and other wildlife, at least 90 species of birds were affected by the spill from Brown Pelicans, Louisiana's official state bird, to Clapper Rails, a secretive saltmarsh bird.
The complexity of Louisiana's coast makes scientific research and monitoring challenging. Not enough was known about the status of these birds' populations prior to the spill, and even less was understood about how to restore them to healthy population sizes.
As part of the Deepwater Horizon settlement, unprecedented, large-scale restoration work has begun in the northern Gulf of Mexico, which presents a new set of opportunities to understand bird populations and to advance habitat conservation. To ensure restoration success, decision makers need information on bird ecology, life history strategies and responses to environmental change caused by both natural processes and by manmade actions, hence the need for GoMAMN.
For more information on GoMAMN go to https://gomamn.org/ or contact Robert Dobbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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