Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Connecting WHSRN Sites and People in the Southern Cone

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

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Male Buff-breasted Sandpiper, double-wing courtship display. © Kevin Karlson

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) breeds in the tundra of North America (Alaska and Canada) and spends the nonbreeding season (boreal winter) in the temperate grasslands of southern South America—mainly in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Priority areas for the species include Laguna de Rocha (Uruguay), Lagoa do Peixe (Brazil) and Bahia Samborombón (Argentina), all WHSRN Sites within the Southern Cone. The degree of legal protection at these sites varies, with a diversity of management actions being implemented by site managers. Private landowners consist mainly of rural farmers, who use their pastures for grazing cattle.

To help protect this important grassland-dependent shorebird species, the nongovernmental organization Aves Uruguay launched the project, “Connecting sites and people to conserve Buff-breasted Sandpiper wintering areas: putting conservation plans into action.” The project is made possible by funds from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grants Program (2011), facilitated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project strengthens partners’ capacity for effective conservation at these three critical WHSRN Sites. The objective will be accomplished through joint management actions among the sites and by starting a monitoring program to assess the species’s response to the actions.

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The group discusses the basis for a joint Action Plan. © Diego Luna Quevedo

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Workshop participants visit the cattle ranch of Mr. Juan Muzio. © Diego Luna Quevedo

From 13–14 June, 2012, partners held the project’s first capacity-building workshop in La Paloma, Department of Rocha, Uruguay. The workshop brought together key actors and stakeholders from the three aforementioned WHSRN sites, plus the Bahía de Asunción WHSRN Site in Paraguay.

During the workshop, partners made comprehensive presentations on the critical sites for Buff-breasted Sandpipers in the Southern Cone; exchanged information on the ecology and conservation of the species; and shared management experiences. At the same time, with facilitation by Diego Luna Quevedo (Southern Cone Program Coordinator for the Shorebird Recovery Project at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences), the participants generated a dynamic working group and laid the foundations of an Action Plan for the joint management of the sites. They addressed the challenges and opportunities that come with joint management; developed objectives for a joint strategy; and established lines of priority actions, expected results, possible activities, and indicators by which to measure the impact of joint management.

The workshop agenda included a visit to the cattle ranch owned by Juan Muzio in the area of Laguna de Rocha. He shared with the participants the keys to good management practices in the field.

For more information, please contact Joaquín Aldabe (joaquin.aldabe@gmail.com), Project Leader and Director of Conservation for Aves Uruguay. Mr. Aldabe is also a coauthor of the WHSRN Species Conservation Plan for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

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