Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences will lead a $3 million, seven-month study to determine how shorebirds fared during and after the massive BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose the Plymouth non-profit as part of a large effort to assess natural resource damages from the spill. More than 30 species of migratory shorebirds – many that visit New England - depend on the Gulf.
The bird surveys, which have already begun, will last through the fall migration period.
Manomet has a long history of shorebird research, monitoring, and conservation. After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Manomet identified all the important places in the Gulf for certain species of shorebirds. Manomet mapped these sites and then overlaid them with maps of the oil’s trajectory to identify and update those places and species most at risk. These maps will guide surveys of shorebirds to assess the damage from the oil.
"The coordinated shorebird surveys are essential to understanding the impact of the spill as the basis for determining appropriate restoration actions to compensate the public for potential injuries to shorebirds. This study may also serve as the baseline for future monitoring,” said Shorebird Recovery Project Director, Dr. Charles Duncan.
Manomet will coordinate and conduct shorebird surveys throughout the U.S. Gulf Coast region, working withUSFWS, regional and state natural resource agencies, nonprofit organizations (including the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and Coastal Bird Conservation/Conservian), as well as Entrix, a natural resources management firm representing BP.
“This assessment is critical to the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the long-term viability of shorebirds that depend on the Gulf Coast for their survival,” said Chuck Hunter, Chief of the Division of Planning and Resource Management for the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System. “We look forward to working with Manomet and our other partners in this major coordinated effort.”
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