Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Selection Criteria

En français (.doc)

WHSRN has two qualifying criteria for inclusion in the Network:

A WHSRN Site or Landscape must be of demonstrated importance to shorebirds and it must have the express agreement of the landowners.
  1. Importance to shorebirds should be based on peak species counts or on calculated turnover rates. A site may qualify on the basis of the total number of shorebirds OR the percentage of any one species' population  that it supports (♦ see below for data sources). WHSRN recognizes three categories of importance, as follows:
    • Sites/Landscapes of Hemispheric Importance:
      • at least 500,000 shorebirds annually; or
      • at least 30% of the biogeographic population for a species
    • Sites of International Importance:
      • at least 100,000 shorebirds annually; or
      • at least 10% of the biogeographic population for a species
    • Sites of Regional Importance:
      • at least 20,000 shorebirds annually; or
      • at least 1% of the biogeographic population for a species
  2. Agreement of the owner(s)
  • In the case of WHSRN Sites, landowners must agree in writing to the following three conditions:
    • To make shorebird conservation a priority at the site;
    • To protect and manage the site for shorebirds; and
    • To update the Network at least annually in the event of changes in the site’s status (boundaries, degree of protection) or in the contact information of the person responsible. 
  • In the case of WHSRN Landscapes, a legally recognized agency or entity (such as a joint venture, landowners' coalition, or watershed council) would agree to the following terms in writing, in lieu of individual landowner agreements, and would accept responsibility for:
    • making shorebird conservation a priority;
    • working with landowners to protect and manage habitat for shorebirds;
    • keeping WHSRN updated on changes in the landscape's status; and
    • supply point-of-contact information. 
  • Landscape nominations must be accompanied by a letter from the nominator:
    • demonstrating that there has been adequate public notification and opportunity for comment; and
    • indicating how the requested landscape recognition from WHSRN will advance the cause of conservation generally, and for the target shorebirds in particular.

Groups to be informed must include landowners, other stakeholders, and the public in general. Please indicate the range of responses obtained.

A WHSRN Landscape is an area where habitat availability varies spatially and temporally and where broad scale changes due to anthropogenic influences are often extensive. Often Landscapes are characterized by complex ownership patterns. Landscapes must be of Hemispheric Importance to gain WHSRN recognition.

Identifying important landscapes begins at a broad geographic scale, for example, at the level of a shorebird planning region, joint venture (JV), or bird conservation region (BCR) in North America, or a life zone or eco-physiographic region within South America. Entities working within the region define the landscape in a way that is most meaningful for the species, region, and management structures, and that best uses shorebird information and technical expertise.

Latest estimates of biogeographic populations of most North American shorebirds are avilable from the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan.

For other species (that do not occur in the United States), please use the estimates in the book Waterbird Population Estimates, 4th Edition, by Wetlands International.