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 16INTERVIEW WITH MONICA IGLECIA Monica Iglecia is the Assistant Director, Shorebird Habitat Management, where the goal is to increase the capacity of both public and privately-owned wetlands to benefit shorebirds throughout North America. Manomet’s Habitat Management Division works with national wildlife refuge managers, state wildlife managers, farmers, and private organizations to improve habitat for shorebirds. How did you become interested in Habitat Management? I’ve been interested in wildlife for as long as I can remember. I used to leaf through the pages of my grandparent’s National Geographic collection and be amazed and inspired by all the incredible creatures that we share the world with. When I first experienced spring migration in the San Francisco Bay, I really connected with shorebirds. The clouds of Western Sandpipers and Dunlin moving around the bay are quite a sight to see!This also opened my eyes to all of the people who manage the places that shorebirds use throughout the flyways.The San Francisco Bay’s salt ponds and wetlands are a good example of how complex and important managing habitat is for the long term conservation of shorebirds. What’s neat is that shorebirds use a variety of habitats—some that might be surprising because they aren’t always a “shore.” For example, Buff-breasted Sandpipers (buffies) spend their winters in the flooded grasslands and grazed pastures of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Most buffies migrate through the central United States and Canada using prairies, agri- cultural fields, and marshland edges as stopover habitat along the way. The tallgrass prairie habitat in the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma hosts more than 30% of the global population of buffies during migration. This area was designated just this year as a Landscape of Hemispheric Importance in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network—a very exciting conservation action. Once buffies finally reach the grassy wet meadows of the arctic in the summer, that’s where they make their nests and rear their young before heading back south. They do this every year! The stories of individual birds really bring this migration saga to life. One of our partners at SAVE Brasil, Juliana Almeida, banded a buffie during the breeding season on the extreme northern coast of Alaska with another Manomet partner, Rick Lanctot of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Several months later, while monitoring buffies at her study site in southern Brazil’s Lagoa do Peixe National Park, Juliana was overwhelmed with excitement when she spotted the bird that she had banded in Alaska, 9,000 miles away. What challenges face shorebirds today? Many shorebird species have declined dramatically in recent decades. The number of Red Knots and Semipalmated Sandpipers has plummeted by 80% in the last 20 years. Shorebirds as a group continue to face a number of challenges throughout their lives. Just like buffies, most shorebirds travel great distances every year. These immense migrations make conservation a challenge. The network of coastal and interior wetlands, ocean beaches, saline lakes, and some agricultural lands along the migratory routes provide areas for shorebirds to rest and refuel on annual migrations. Along the way, they may encounter the direct loss or degradation of habitat, chronic distur- bance while resting or eating during migration, unregulated hunting, and sometimes, an over-abundance of predators. A good analogy for the way these challenges take a toll on the health of migrating shorebirds is to imagine trying to run multiple marathons back to back (e.g. migration) and being chased every time you sat down to rest, sleep, or eat (e.g. threats like people and dogs on beaches and increasing numbers of Peregrine Falcons). Next, imagine that all the restaurants and grocery stores along the way are unexpectedly closed or have empty shelves (e.g. habitat loss and degradation). Once arriving to the breeding grounds, shorebirds face changes in habitat conditions, like the amount of ice and snow covering the ground they nest on. Or other changes like the timing of peak insect abundance, which are the foods they rely on to rear healthy young. Manomet’s mission is applying science and engaging people to sustain our world. In your work, how does this mission help you to solve these challenges? I think the Shorebird Recovery Program, which is comprised of three separate but tightly collaborative divisions, is a great example of Manomet’s mission in action. The Science Division generates original and collaborative research that helps fill crucial information gaps in our collective shorebird knowledge. Then, we use the results of our science projects to inform the Site Conservation Division, which houses the Executive Office of theWestern Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. This incredible network of critical shorebird areas represents one of the largest collaborative efforts of volun- tary shorebird conservation in the world. I work in the third division of the Shorebird Recovery Program, the Habitat Management Division. Brad Winn and I work to improve conditions for shorebirds on the ground. We share and discuss the best available science and conservation strategies with biologists, land managers, land owners, and decision makers at important shorebird sites. We travel quite a bit and see shorebirds at almost every stage of their life-cycle. We host workshops that are several days long and immersive; we spend time in the field and time in the classroom. In the classroom, we talk about shorebird biology, identification, migration, habitat needs, and threats to these species glob- ally and locally. In the field, these topics come to life when we see the birds using the habitat and we can talk about what’s happening right in front of us—both the good and the bad. That is all fodder for conversations about conservation opportunities. Workshop participants vary in their shorebird experience. Some are experts that attend the workshop to learn about the latest science and research. Others are landowners that might be providing habitat for shorebirds but don’t know much about them or what they need. One particular participant has attended two workshops. In the first, he was an active and very engaged participant. By the second, he was presenting his efforts to improve habitat 10 | Manomet Partnerships for Sustainability • Fall / Winter 2016-17