Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Strategic Plan 2011-2017

Download the WHSRN 2011-2017 Strategic Plan (PDF, 345 KB).



The Western Hemisphere is home to a great diversity and abundance of shorebird species, with some migrating the length of the Americas. The endemic breeding shorebirds of South America are one of the least well-known groups of birds in the world. These species and the habitats they use face severe threats including habitat loss and modification; overfishing affecting food resources; hunting; and the effects of anthropogenic climate change. As a result, more than half (28) of the 53 shorebird species that breed in North America are at grave risk with some, like Red Knots (Calidris canutus) and Semipalmated Sandpipers (C. pusilla), being reduced in number by over 80% in the past 30 years.

Photo Credit: Charles Duncan

To invigorate WHSRN and elaborate on a 5-year strategy for making it as powerful as possible, a thorough review of the Network’s mission, conservation vision, and structure was undertaken. The document that follows is the result of that study.

The mission of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) is to conserve shorebird species and their habitats across the Americas through a network of key sites. Our vision is for healthy shorebird populations that delight and benefit current and future human generations. The sites that shorebirds need to thrive are designated and managed for effective conservation of all shorebird species in the Americas.

WHSRN’s goals are to:

  • Ensure the sustained management of all Network sites to provide adequate conservation of shorebirds and their habitats;
  • Facilitate communication, exchange of information, and sharing of experiences amongst the Network;
  • Strengthen the capacity of WHSRN to address issues affecting the conservation of WHSRN sites;
  • Strengthen the financial and technical capacity of WHSRN (with a focus on the Executive Office) to effectively implement the Strategic Plan; and,
  • Strengthen existing and seek new partnerships with stakeholders engaged in activities fostering the conservation of shorebirds sites.

Within each of these goals, specific objectives are described. These are detailed in Appendix I. The work programs for the Network derive from these objectives.

Three groups are the primary implementers of the Network’s mission. These are: (1) Site Partners, the people on the ground at each WHSRN site; (2) Network Partners, the organizations that support the Network overall; and the (3) Hemispheric Council with support from the Executive Office. The roles and responsibilities of these groups are outlined in an organizational chart in Appendix II.

Leadership for the Network occurs at a variety of scales, as appropriate to the needs of the Site and Network partners. The Hemispheric Council is the body ultimately responsible for the entire network and matters affecting the WHSRN program as a whole. National Councils, where they are appropriate, design and implement pertinent activities that contribute to the achievement of the Network’s mission. The Network’s Executive Office is a function of Manomet and provides core services supporting the Network’s constituents. See Appendix II for an organizational chart.

The goals and objectives of the WHSRN program are consistent with those for migratory species and habitats of the Ramsar Convention, Convention on Migratory Species, Convention on Biological Diversity as well as other major initiatives including Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative and the Important Bird Areas program of BirdLife International, and the Neotropical Waterbird Census program of Wetlands International. WHSRN works to develop and strengthen synergies with these frameworks to achieve effective conservation for migratory shorebirds and their habitats.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: WHSRN 2011-2017 Strategic Plan (PDF, 345 KB).

Executive Summary   

  1. Introduction
  2. WHSRN Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles
  3. Goals and Objectives 
  4. Conservation Outcomes 
  5. Leadership and Implementation 
  6. Resources 
  7. Evaluation and Monitoring 
  8. Acknowledgments


  1. Strategic Plan Matrix  
  2. Organizational Chart  
  3. Existing and Potential WHSRN Sites by Country