2013 Implementation Plan

The Implementation Plans of the 18 U.S. Habitat Joint Ventures are intended to provide Joint Venture (JV) partnerships with a roadmap for the protection, restoration, enhancement, and management of habitat needed to support populations of birds at desired levels. In simple terms, the plans describe the most important areas for birds within the JV and define what needs to be done in a coordinated fashion to conserve habitat as needed to support bird populations at continental goal levels. The Intermountain West Joint Venture 2013 Implementation Plan -- Strengthening Science and Partnerships (Plan) constitutes a major revision of the 2005 Coordinated Bird Conservation Plan (2005 IWJV Implementation Plan). It embodies a new approach and business model, founded on the principles of strategic habitat conservation and rooted in the establishment of JV-wide bird conservation priorities and habitat objectives with explicit connections to continental bird population objectives.

Biological planning and conservation design toward defensible habitat objectives has been underway for several years for certain groups of birds in certain landscapes of the Intermountain West. For example, the Plan identifies habitat needed to support spring-migrating waterfowl at North American Waterfowl Management Plan goal levels in southern Oregon and northeastern California. Likewise, it includes the results of the most detailed conservation strategy ever developed for shorebirds at the Great Salt Lake, one of the most important stopover sites for shorebirds in the Western Hemisphere.

Remaining data gaps exist and hinder our ability to develop habitat objectives or spatially explicit decision support tools for many priority species across the region. Yet, this Plan serves as an important benchmark in the evolution of the IWJV, consolidating our current knowledge of priority bird species, species-habitat relationships, and the quantity and location of habitat needed to support these populations at goal levels.

Please take the opportunity to read the menu below and discover links that are meant to help further bird habitat conservation in your area or download the entire plan here. 

IP Chapter 0 Exec SummaryEXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Executive Summary describes how the Plan works to strengthen science and partnerships in the Intermountain West Joint Venture and credits the many individuals whose tireless work made the Plan possible.



IP Chapter 1 Intro



by Dave Smith, IWJV Coordinator

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Plan and how the IWJV partnership operates to advance bird habitat conservation in the Intermountain West. This chapter also describes the relationship of the Plan to major National Bird Plans & Initiatives, including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan, North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, North American Landbird Conservation Plan, and the North American Bird Conservation Initiative.
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IP Chapter 2 Characterization of the IWJV LandscapeCHAPTER TWO


by Patrick Donnelly

Chapter 2 puts the IWJV ecological and political diversity into context from a continental perspective. Click here to understand the general landscape characteristics of the IWJV, as defined by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation Ecoregions. Key components include a landscape analysis of the number of ecoregions by type and acres (at the national and regional scales), the number of Bird Conservation Regions with associated acres that intersect the IWJV, and the conservation estate and landownership patterns within the IWJV. 
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by Josh Vest & Patrick Donnelly

Chapter 3 defines the science-based framework that is being used to develop conservation strategies for the IWJV partnership. Learn how the IWJV intends to address the questions of “why”, “how”, “how much”, and “where” to sustain populations of migratory birds through conservation programs. This chapter outlines the foundational concepts that now shape the IWJV’s strategic approach to bird habitat conservation.   
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by Mark Petrie, Josh Vest, & Dave Smith

Chapter 4 begins by identifying eight areas of continental significance for waterfowl, as defined in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The discussion leads to the heart of the chapter, which involves biological planning and conservation design for nonbreeding waterfowl in three regions—southern Oregon and northeastern California; the Great Salt Lake marshes of Utah; and the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. Lastly, priority breeding waterfowl species are identified for the three primary Bird Conservation Regions within the IWJV (9, 10, and 16).   
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by Sue Thomas, Brad Andres, & Josh Vest

Chapter 5 builds on the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and is intended to provide a source of quantitative population objectives for shorebirds which have not previously been available. The information will facilitate the development of landscape level conservation planning for shorebirds in the Intermountain West linked to continental goals. An important body of work includes bioenergetics modeling results in two key sites – the Great Salt Lake and the Blanca Wetlands Habitat Area. These pilots will serve as a prototype for similar modeling projects in 16 other key sites for shorebirds in the Intermountain West. Key elements of the chapter include:

  • The most up-to-date information on shorebirds in the Intermountain West including seasonal occurrence of shorebird species by Bird Conservation Region (BCR) and Area of Importance Scores for shorebirds (by BCR)
  • A description of 7 shorebird habitat types in the Intermountain West
  • Threats and limiting factors
  • Population estimates and objectives for passage and breeding shorebirds in the Intermountain West
  • Identification of 18 Shorebird Key Sites with peak migration counts
  • Identification of 7 breeding shorebird focal species

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by Tara Zimmerman, Gary Ivey, & Josh Vest

Chapter 6 outlines the biological planning approach for waterbirds in the Intermountain West, based on the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan. Like Chapter 5, it includes the most up-to-date information on waterbirds in the Intermountain West including five habitat types, 44 key wetland sites for waterbirds, population status and trends, threats and limiting factors, and population estimates and objectives. It provides a synthesis of several inventory and monitoring studies with monitoring data on select species, and presents profiles of 4 key species recommended for conservation planning including: White-faced Ibis, American Bittern, Sora, and Greater Sandhill Crane. Lastly, the chapter provides descriptions and threats for 6 waterbird focal areas including: Southern Oregon and Northeastern California, Great Salt Lake, Bear River Basin, Southeastern Idaho, Upper/Middle Rio Grande Valleys in Colorado and New Mexico, and West-Central Nevada.

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by Daniel Casey

Chapter 7 identifies priority species and steps population and habitat objectives down from continental goals and objectives defined in the National Landbird Conservation Plan. A total 21 focal landbirds were chosen to set regional habitat-based population objectives.  Key elements of the chapter include:

  • The most up-to-date information on landbirds in the Intermountain West including species prioritization, habitat prioritization and characterization for focused conservation
  • The HABPOPS Database, which is a Microsoft Access database that combines estimates of current habitat extent and condition with the best available data describing focal species occupancy rates and density to derive population estimates at the Bird Conservation Region/State scale
  • Step-down objectives by BCR/State polygons from the Partners in Flight Continental Plan for 21 focal landbirds
  • Population trends for focal landbird species reliant on sagebrush, grassland, pinyon juniper, coniferous forests, and riparian areas
  • Prioritization of BCR/State polygons (maps by species) within the IWJV based on Breeding Bird Survey data showing significant decline, stable or unknown trends, and significant increases
  • Habitat-based population objectives for sagebrush-obligate and grassland birds
  • Recommended approaches for conservation by BCR/state (BCRs 9,10,16) for the following sagebrush and grassland habitats, and the following species: Long-billed Curlew, Grasshopper Sparrow, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Brewer’s Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Gray Flycatcher, Greater Sage-grouse, Gunnison Sage-grouse

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IP Chapter 8



by Ali Duvall, Dave Smith, & Josh Vest

Chapter 8 defines the IWJV Habitat Conservation Strategy and current conservation priorities for wetland, sagebrush, and grassland habitats. Each habitat section identifies priority bird species, key threats, the approach to conservation at the JV scale, funding opportunities, and resources.  This chapter provides important recommendations for coordinated implementation of targeted bird habitat conservation by state conservation partners.

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IP Chapter 9



by Ashley Dayer

Measurable habitat delivery outcomes in the Intermountain West are dependent on the synergy and cooperation of a large number of conservation partners situated in the 11 western states. This chapter provides a strategic communications blueprint for reaching these partners in precise, effective ways and for creating tools that will support and extend the JV's innovative communications program.