IBA Local Action Fund

Image of Ted Cheskey

Ted Cheskey
Senior Conservation Manager

Thanks to a generous grant from the Gosling Foundation, Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada are injecting new energy into the Important Bird and Biodiversity (IBA) program. Over the past 20 years, millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours of volunteer hours have been invested in protecting birds at Canada’s IBAs.  We are committed to keeping Canada’s IBAs as a centrepiece of our site-related bird conservation work.

From 2008 to 2014, Nature Canada and BSC established the IBA Caretaker network, delivered with provincial nature network partners, and in some cases First Nation partners, aimed to get an ‘on-the-ground” stewardship and advocacy presence in IBAs from local groups and individuals.  Over this entire period, Nature Canada and BSC have worked hard to protect Canada’s IBAs through outreach, advocacy with governments and industry, and mobilization of citizen scientists to monitor IBAs.

This year, we have launched a new phase of IBA conservation work: the IBA Local Action Fund. Twelve projects were selected, including three in Nova Scotia, one in New Brunswick, one in PEI, one in Newfoundland-Labrador, three in Quebec, two in Manitoba and two in British Columbia. Thanks to the support of the Gosling Foundation—and your membership—Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada are working with local groups on specific projects to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Here are a few features on how we are putting your membership to work protecting Canada’s birds!


Image of Black Oystercatchers

Black Oystercatchers

Laskeek Bay IBA, Charlotte BC

Project: Fostering local champions to protect seabirds

Summary:

The Laskeek Bay Conservation Society will work with local individuals to monitor and manage invasive predator species, namely racoons and rats, that are threatening breeding birds in the Laskeek Bay IBA. The Laskeek Bay IBA is a nationally significant breeding site for a multitude of seabird species, including Ancient Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers, and Glaucous-winged Gulls. The Laskeek Bay Conservation Society will continue to develop environmental stewards and enhance local capacity to understand and support this IBA.

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Image of Great Blue Heron by Jim Dubois

Great Blue Heron by Jim Dubois

K’ómoks IBA on the Coast of British Colombia

Project: Working With First Nations Guardian Watchmen on the K’omoks IBA.

Summary:

BC Nature is currently working with First Nations Guardian Watchmen, who monitor & protect lands & waters on First Nations’ territories along the Vancouver Island coast. The partnership works to identify shared bird conservation issues and lay the groundwork to integrate bird monitoring into current Guardian Watchmen stewardship programs. Due in part to remote locations, few bird-focused conservation measures and monitoring programs have been conducted within many coastal IBAs, despite the increasing threats of disturbance from shipping, oil spills, recreational activity, and fisheries.

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Image of a Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl

Oak and Plum Lakes IBAs, Manitoba

Project: Cultivating local leadership to protect a mosaic of habitats and species.

Summary:

Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA provides a unique mosaic of habitats on the northeast periphery of the Northern Great Plains. Oak Lake is part of the Eastern Mixed-grass Prairie Regional Priority Area, an area prioritized for its high biodiversity value, high concentration of Species At Risk, and its unique ecological/biological landscapes. These diverse habitats are home to a number of species that need protection. Nature Manitoba will work with indigenous groups and non-indigenous communities to establish a caretaker and stewardship network for this IBA.

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Image of a Red Knot

Red Knot

IBAs of Manitoba’s Hudson Bay lowlands: Seal River Estuary IBA, Churchill and Vicinity IBA, Nelson River Estuary and Marsh Point IBA, Kaskattama River Estuary IBA, Manitoba

Project: Monitoring Hudson Bay Coastal IBAs in Partnership with First Nations.

Summary:

Nature Manitoba will be working to engage local community members from Churchill and local First Nations in stewardship and monitoring on Hudson Bay coastal IBAs. The IBAs of Manitoba’s Hudson Bay lowlands are poorly known and susceptible to a range of threats from climate change to disturbance. This area is of high significance for many species including Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Black Scoter, Rusty Blackbird, Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit and Cackling Goose. An active caretaker group will raise awareness of this area for High Arctic shorebirds, working with tour groups to ensure that guides operate sensitively and any new infrastructure is carefully considered.

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Image of a Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Minas Basin IBA in Nova Scotia (Bay of Fundy)

Project: Developing a Safe Shorebird Roost Site in the Minas Basin IBA.

Summary:

The food-rich mudflats of the Minas Basin IBA support over 100,000 Semipalmated Sandpipers in addition to tens of thousands of other shorebirds during fall migration. Because of its very high ecological value as shorebird stopover site, the Minas Basin is designated as both an IBA of global significance (Semipalmated Sandpiper is the primary IBA trigger species) and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site of hemispheric importance.

A number of beaches are primary high tide roost sites used by shorebirds in the Minas Basin IBA. Intense summer recreational pressures, particularly striped bass fishing, coincide with peak fall migration in August. This project seeks to develop long-term solutions to creating safe spaces for roosting shorebirds by engaging local recreational users at each roost site as well as establish partners within the IBA, including local businesses and tourism operators.

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Image of a Roseate Tern

Roseate Tern

North Brother Island IBA, southwestern Nova Scotia, Universite Saine-Anne, Church Point, NS

Project: Collaborative effort to protect the Roseate Tern breeding colony in the gulf of Maine.

Summary:

This is a collaborative effort between stewards from Université Sainte-Anne and long-time North Brother Island IBA steward to protect the Roseate Tern population on North Brother Island through habitat assessment and enhancement activities and human impact mitigation. In order to protect the North Brother Island IBA, the Roseate Tern and other species of conservation interest, the group will experiment with different management techniques to protect nesting Roseate Tern from predators and habitat degradation.

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Image of a piping plover

Piping Plover

Island Nature Trust IBA, PEI

Project: Collaborative effort to protect the Pipling Plovers in the Island Nature Trust IBA.

Summary: 

Local groups hope to minimize human disturbance of tourism while educating visitors of the importance of the Island Nature Trust IBA and the Piping Plovers that breed there. The Island Nature Trust plan to employ staff and organize volunteers to develop and deliver conservation conscious training programs and educational materials to the community in order to protect the Piping Plovers. Building the capacity of local watershed groups and Mi’kmaq resources and conservation groups will grow community awareness and support local decision-making that considers IBAs in the context of their ecological sensitivities.

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Image of a Atlantic Puffin by Chris MacDonald

Atlantic Puffin by Chris MacDonald

Point Lepreau and Maces Bay IBAs surrounding the Bay of Fundy, NB

Project: Co-operative efforts to protect the Bay of Fundy from potential oil spills.

Summary:

The entire Bay of Fundy is of critical importance for the Atlantic Flyway, which migrating birds use in spring and fall as they travel between breeding and overwintering grounds.  With existing shipping and industrial activity and the potential of increased oil tanker traffic from the Energy East project, there is real concern about the impact of potential oil spills on birds and marine life.  As Energy East has demonstrated little interest in studying the impact of oil spills, Nature NB wishes to work with local partners to develop a strategy to increase awareness of the risks and impact of oil spills, encourage action at local IBAs and incite public insistence on protecting the environment upon which so many birds populations depend.  The goal is to influence Energy East to implement adequate safety measures to protect migratory birds and their habitat.

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Image of a Bufflehead

Bufflehead

Port L’Hebert and Port Joli harbours IBA, southwest shore Nova Scotia- Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre Society

Project: Building a public campaign to create new marine protected area that would protect coastal IBAs in Nova Scotia.   

Summary:

Nova Scotia local groups seek to increase awareness in order to protect Port L’Hebert and Port Joli harbours IBA home to a number of species including: Ipswich Sparrows, Piping Plovers, Green-Winged Teals, Norther Pintails, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads and more. By engaging local residents, fishers, the Mi’kmaq community and local land owners, this project plans to create a committee of volunteers to work with Department of Fisheries and Oceans to protect the marine environment, bird life and biodiversity in these IBAs.

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Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Ile aux Basques et les Razades IBA. rois-Pistoles, Québec.

Project: Collaborative management action plans to protect Common Eiders on the Ile aux Basques et les Razades IBA.

Summary: The “Societe Provancher d’histoire naturelle du Canada” with the collaboration of some partners, including scientists from universities, volunteers and environmental organizations, will undertake research to inform management actions to preserve nesting species on the island. They want to find the best method to manage Double-crested Cormorants in order to preserve a small population of breeding Common Eiders as well as some shorebirds.  Their habitats are strongly impacted by the increase in cormorant populations.

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Image of a Snow Goose

Photo from Flickr, Tony Battiste

Battures-de-Beauport IBA – Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau.  

Project: Creating a community of concern for the Battures-de-Beauport IBA to protect Shorebirds .

Summary: The “Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau” (G3E) plans to create an educational program about the Les Battures de Beauport IBA called“1, 2, 3 ZICO!” project. The IBA is in a very heavily populated area with many sources of disturbance including industry, shipping, pollution and significant recreational pressures.  The area is known for its huge concentrations of Snow Geese and also as a stop-over for migrating shorebirds.1, 2, 3 ZICO (Zone Important pour la Conservation des Oiseaux – the French name for IBAs). A month long campaign will raise awareness of the conservation issues affecting the IBA and the need for the development of solutions to protect the area among local residents and policy makers.

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Image of an Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

Witless Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

Project: Engage local community in workshops to reduce human threats to Atlantic Puffin colony.

Summary:

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Newfoundland-Labrador Chapter aims to protect the Atlantic Puffin colonies in the Witless Bay, IBA. For six years, CPAWS NL has worked within communities in close proximity of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve to rescue and release puffins and petrels who become stranded on the mainland because of attraction to artificial lights. Light attraction from the local town is a source of mortality for young birds. The CPAWS local chapter is working on a community solution to this problem so that young Atlantic Puffins and Leach’s Storm Petrels are not victims of local lights.

The project aims to reduce human disturbance to nesting seabirds in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve IBA; to increase knowledge and engagement among local citizens in the stewardship of the IBA; to increase awareness of the IBA and its conservation needs among the general public and visitors to the region.

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Image of a Common Murre

Common Murre

Baie de Brador IBA, Ile aux Perroquets, Point Amour, and the Strait of Belle Isle IBA, Labrador:  Quebec Labrador Foundation (QLF)

Project: This project will improve local knowledge of the value of the Baie de Brador IBA, threats to its birds, and result in increased community engagement in IBA stewardship and support for the Migratory Bird and Sanctuary.

Summary:

Through meetings and workshops, the project will inform, guide, and motivate local leaders to reduce disturbance to the IBA and promote its ecological value. It will dispel misconceptions of the IBA and teach Migratory Bird/Sanctuary regulations. It will train youth to ID seabirds, prevent disturbance from boats, and conduct beach clean-ups.  has been involved locally since 1963, knows business leaders and a local bird champion, and currently runs popular youth workshops with Intervale. QLF understands that people are concerned for the IBA but lack specific knowledge and incentive for pro-active conservation unless it benefits the local economy and helps preserve traditions.

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Double your impact by donating to support one of these local Important Bird Areas Action Fund!

Habitat degradation, climate change, pollution and human impact pose grave threats to Important Bird Areas and Canadians need to band together to protect these critical habitats and wildlife. The IBA Action Fund was created to give much needed funding to protect hundreds of species of birds across Canada – and now you can help too!

A donation today can mean twice as much; protect double the amount of habitat and conserve species two fold!

A gift today will be put to action to:

Protect Habitat from several threats
• Save hundreds of species that call these IBAs home
• Help on the ground efforts to maintain and conserve IBAs for generations

Give a gift today!