Synthesizing information resources for the Virginia Important Bird Area Program: Phase I Delmarva Peninsula and tidewater
Background and Objectives: The Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is a science-based initiative to identify, conserve, and monitor sites that provide essential habitat for bird populations. Developed in Europe, the program has expanded to become an international network of conservation sites. Under this initiative, sites that are critical for the long-term survival of bird populations have been identified across the globe using internationally agreed upon criteria. The quality and effectiveness of this conservation network depends directly on the information resources and expertise used in its development. The National Audubon Society with funding from the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and other groups has recently established an IBA program in Virginia. The purpose of this program is to identify, establish, and work toward the conservation of locations of importance to birds in Virginia. The primary objective of this project is to utilize existing information resources to delineate important bird areas in coastal Virginia. Information resources will be identified, compiled, and synthesized in order to place geographic locations within the appropriate local, regional, and national context in terms of their importance to bird species of conservation concern. Specific objectives include: 1) to delineate boundaries of IBAs based on available information resources. 2) to nominate areas determined to meet biological criteria to the IBA technical committee for consideration/approval as IBAs.