IWJV Releases New Tool for Effective Bird Habitat Management

Clockwise from top-left: Sage Thrasher, Long-Billed Curlew, Grasshopper Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, and Sagebrush Sparrow. Photos courtesy of Ken Miracle, Scott Root, and Robert Martinka.

The Intermountain West Joint Venture is pleased to announce that the HABPOPS tool is now available for use by resource and land managers within the Intermountain West region. HABPOPS, short for Habitats and Populations Scenarios, can be used to explore the effects that habitat management activities could have on bird populations. For program and large-scale planning and analyses, it answers the question: what are the population effects of changing habitat types or conditions? Answering this allows managers to be strategic and effective with their activities. 

HABPOPS generates population estimates for three sagebrush species (Sagebrush Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow) and two grassland species (Grasshopper Sparrow, Long-billed Curlew), based on habitat conditions. To do so, HABPOPS combines estimates of current habitat extent and condition (from ReGap layers) with the best available data describing focal species occupancy rates and density to derive population estimates at the Bird Conservation Region (BCR) and state scale. It covers three primary Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) in the IWJV region: 9,10, and 16.  It also ties to population objectives at the state and BCR level as defined in the IWJV 2013 Implementation Plan.

“HABPOPS is a new tool in the toolbox for habitat managers across the West,” said Dave Smith, IWJV Coordinator. “It allows us to better understand what impact certain management practices will have before projects even touch the ground. Our partners can use this tool to make the most informed decisions possible when developing conservation activities.”

Visit the web-interface here for HABPOPS to get started! It provides map integration and produces reports for your area. You can also download the Access database, if you would rather use the tool on your desktop, or the raw data used to build HABPOPS.

The HABPOPS tool was created by Dan Casey, as a collaboration between IWJV, the American Bird Conservancy, and Point Blue Conservation Science.  It was based on an original concept known as the Hierarchical All-Bird Strategy (HABS) database developed by Playa Lakes Joint Venture. HABPOPS was also used to develop content in the Landbird Chapter of the IWJV 2013 Implementation Plan

The tool is already receiving positive reviews from users. Catherine Wightman of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks said, “I applaud Dan Casey and the IWJV for taking on this project and for their vision in developing a planning tool for landbirds.  I see its value for project proposals and for articulating conservation successes to decision makers.”

If you would like to learn more about this tool, join us for a webinar with Dan Casey on Thursday, April 28 at 1-2pm MT.

Web-ex link: https://cornell.webex.com/join/aad86

Join by phone: 1-855-244-8681 (US/Canada) Access code: 641 007 334


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