The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network’s Hemispheric Council met last week in Vancouver and focused on developing the group’s efforts in North America. 


“The take home for me was having robust discussions on how to strengthen WHSRN, particularly in North America,” said Charles Duncan, director of Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project and director of WHSRN’s executive office. Manomet houses and staffs the WHSRN executive office.


The meeting was held from May 1-3, and was supported by the Canadian Wildlife Service.


The network launched more than 25 years ago when the Delaware Bay was designated as a crucial site for migrating shorebirds. In recent years, however, the fastest progress has come from Latin America, according to Duncan.


Diego Luna Quevedo, the coordinator for the Shorebird Recovery Project’s Southern Cone Programs, delivered a presentation on the conditions that have led to success in Latin America.


“We talked about how, structurally, can we replicate some of those conditions in the U.S. and Canada,” Duncan said.


The council also focused on the Fraser River Estuary, a critical WHSRN site that is threatened by encroaching development. Because of British Columbia’s rocky, mountainous shoreline, the Fraser River Estuary provides an isolated stopover for migratory shorebirds. More than 500,000 shorebirds stop to feed at the Fraser River Estuary each spring and the site has been a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance since 2005.


“Fraser River Estuary is really important,” Duncan said. “We are looking to support the work of our local partners.”


After the meeting, most of the council traveled to the Tofino Shorebird Festival, held from May 4-6. The Tofino mudflats are a potential WHSRN site.