Post-disaster update: Manomet scientists lead U.S. Gulf shorebird surveys

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

In 2010, the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences was selected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop and implement coordinated shorebird surveys along the U.S. Gulf Coast as part of the federal Natural Resources Damage Assessment. This large-scale survey effort, now several months underway, began in response to the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil disaster that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

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Shiloh Schulte, an expert on American Oystercatchers (pictured with him), is currently leading large-scale, coordinated shorebird surveys for the U.S. Gulf Coast. / Courtesy of Shiloh Schulte

The shorebird surveys are being carried out by Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project scientists in collaboration with a myriad of federal, state, and local partners. The data they have been collecting from across all five states bordering the Gulf (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) will provide the information needed to assess the impact of this disaster on migrating shorebirds. The more than $3 million project is one of the largest wildlife damage assessments ever conducted for shorebirds.

In November 2010, journalist Beth Daley of the Boston Globe newspaper accompanied and interviewed Shiloh Schulte in Louisiana as he conducted fieldwork. Shiloh, Manomet’s American Oystercatcher Recovery Coordinator, has spent months away from his home in Maine and countless hours coordinating and collecting data around the Gulf for this time-sensitive and important damage assessment. You can read Beth Daley’s article “Returning to the scene of the grime” online, as well as watch a short video clip of her experience in the Gulf with Shiloh and others. Her article also appeared in print on the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe, 21 November 2010.

The full press release about Manomet being chosen to lead the U.S. Gulf shorebird survey is available in the WHSRN Press Room.

To learn more about Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project (SRP) team’s involvement and leadership in responding to the Gulf oil disaster in 2010, please visit the WHSRN Press Room and special SRP webpage.

For more information, please contact Stephen Brown (sbrown@manomet.org), Director of Shorebird Science, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

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