Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16HOW BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS LED TO RESULTS The American Oystercatcher success story proved that “business-like” con- servation could work. The recovery of the bird was linked to the plan’s intense focus and careful planning. Biologists knew that predators accounted for the majority of nest and chick losses during the breeding season, so protecting individual nests from pred- ators became a major focus of the project. The plan also had an emphasis on implementation from the very begin- ning. Developing the plan took more than a year, but the plan was only seen as a tool, with implementation as a goal. Getting the right people on board was a huge part of making sure what was outlined in the plan would be possible. As Schulte explained,“We talk about how this plan is managing shorebird populations, but it is really about man- aging people. Our success has come from the army of technicians on the ground monitoring these birds, educat- ing the local communities about their plight, but also from our partnerships with agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers that helped us build habitat.” By flipping the aims of traditional conservation planning around, business plans do not just outline what needs to be done—they go a step deeper and describe how each project will happen. Assigning a dollar figure to shorebird recovery upfront requires a thorough outline of equipment and personnel costs alongside an analysis of the risks that could threaten success. One risk for coastal bird conservation is always public opinion and backlash. So while the plan has many projects in place to control predators, it also has projects for engaging and educating local people for lasting conservation success. “That’s the major challenge with all this,” Schulte said.“To find a sustainable way to manage and conserve species over the long term. It’s not just putting signs up and closing an area. It’s important to have someone there, whenever possible, to talk to people, to explain what’s going on. It’s about building a connection to that place, trying to build partnerships, getting people engaged.” The focused projects and relation- ships built on the ground have made the business plan possible and successful. However, the plan only focuses on the Atlantic and Gulf populations which have a relatively small range in com- parison to other shorebirds and didn’t include all the American Oystercatchers, which also use similar habitats in South America. Focusing on the American Oystercatcher’s flyway in the U.S. meant uniting efforts along the entire Atlantic Seaboard, across states, and among North American partners, but this was only the start of a much bigger approach. Applying this model to other shore- birds gets tricky. The birds get smaller, their colors get grayer, and their migra- tions get longer—causing coordination efforts to grow in complexity. The tactics and partnerships needed to succeed have to transcend the traditional conservation community. BRINGING THE VISION TO THE HEMISPHERE Yet in 2011, with the momentum of the American Oystercatcher recov- ery behind them, Manomet, USFWS, NFWF, and over 50 other shorebird conservationists, governmental organi- zations, NGOs, and universities came together to develop a hemispher- ic business plan to recover 15 shorebird species with the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative (AFSI). It took over three years of meetings to complete the full business plan. Following the logic of the oyster- catcher plan, this business plan is just a tool—implementation and buy-in from the right people on the ground will be the key to the success of this ambitious effort. AFSI’s overall goal is to recover 15 shorebird species (see figure 1) in the Atlantic Flyway by 10 to 15 percent by 2025. Just like in the oystercatcher model, the plan outlines the species’ top threats and the key strategies to address them. The key strategies outlined in the plan are to protect habitat, minimize predation, reduce human disturbance, reduce hunting, and fill knowledge gaps. However, unlike the oystercatch- er plan, seven of the species in AFSI require plans on a hemispheric scale as their migrations span from the Arctic to the southern tip of South America. How can the same laser-sharp focus and engagement seen in the oystercatch- er business plan be applied across such a large area? Luckily a network of sites critical to shorebird conservation already exists: the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). To date, WHSRN site partners are conserving more than 32 million acres of shorebird habitat across 94 sites in 14 countries. Manomet hous- es the Executive Office for WHSRN, which provides administrative, technical, and outreach services to sites, includ- ing coordination and communication between sites. DiegoLunaQuevedo,aConservation Specialist for Manomet based in Santiago, Chile, explains that, “Our role in the WHSRN Executive Office is to identify appropriate partners and leaders, open doors to conservation, and build alliances. We help to strengthen the capabilities of our partners, pro- viding them with tools and technical support to address their management challenges. Our base is science, but our challenge is establishing good local gov- ernance that allows for both the rational use and the conservation of resources at WHSRN sites.” A pair of American Oystercatchers. 5