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IBA Selection Criteria

Suggested Guidelines

The following is a general overview of the concepts for the IBA program:

A. Sites already designated as conservation areas, such as National Wildlife Refuges, Wildlife Management Areas, Nature Conservancy Preserves and Audubon Centers, may be nominated, as well as other, unprotected sites. Whether or not a site meets one or more of the criteria should be the sole basis for designation as an IBA.

B. Sites are selected to represent all Partners in Flight-designated priority species and habitats in the state.

C. Sites are selected in part to utilize potential partnerships, e.g. sites on the public/private land interface.

D. Sites will be designated through a process that may include discussions with the landowner(s) and documentation of landowner contacts. Landowner contacts are encouraged but sites can be nominated without the contacts.

E. Review of sites submitted for consideration will take into account the likelihood of continued use and habitat suitability of the site, including any potential effects that selection may have on increased visitation and resultant disturbance by visitors.

F. Sites can meet one or more of the criteria to qualify as an IBA, though many will meet more than one.

G. Areas that are located in the urban environment are equally important for the conservation of birds and will be considered in the same manner as sites in non-urban areas.

The following are the four specific scientific criteria to be considered as a guideline for the IBA program:

1. Sites important to endangered or threatened species or species of special concern in Oregon. Description: Sites that regularly support significant breeding or nonbreeding densities listed as endangered or threatened or of special concern in the state of Oregon under the Federal or State Endangered Species Acts. Applies primarily to breeding or wintering sites, though regular migratory areas may be considered if known to be of exceptional importance. The site should be one of regular and/or recent occurrence in the last ~10 years. The significance of the site is judged relative to the overall number of individuals of the species in Oregon and the species’ number throughout its range. Qualifying sites are those where the species regularly occurs, or sites with suitable habitat where re-introducions are planned or future colonization by the species is likely; but not areas where the species occurs irregularly or has not recently occurred. Sites identified in recovery plans and in ecosystem-scale resource management plans as necessary to the viability of the species are given greater weight.

2. Sites important to species of high conservation priority. Description: Sites that regularly support significant breeding or non-breeding densities of species identified as high conservation priorities by Partners in Flight and identified in any bird conservation plan or agency list relative to the area in question. Thresholds will vary, but may include sites with 25 or more breeding pairs, 5% or more of the seasonal state population (if known), or the 2-3 sites in the state with the highest regularly occurring numbers.

3. Sites that are representative of rare or threatened natural communities in Oregon. Description: Sites with habitats that are rare or unique in the state, or are exceptional examples of the habitats that should support, or could be managed to support, the full complement of bird species dependent on that habitat type. Priority will be given to sites with exceptionally high species and natural habitat diversity, and some attempt will be made to distribute representative sites throughout the state. In addition, artificial lands will be considered if they replicate important habitat that has been or will be lost in that particular area, and are critically important because of habitat loss in the area.

4. Sites where significant numbers of birds concentrate for breeding, during migration, or in the non-breeding season. Description: Sites that regularly hold significant numbers of one or more species, breeding or non-breeding, including migration. Significant numbers are not easily defined. The following guidelines are suggested to provide some logical thresholds for site selection. Except where indicated, numerical estimates should be based on a short period of time, e.g. one-time counts such as daily surveys -- not on cumulative totals. Introduced, feral, and nuisance species should not be counted.

    4a. Site supports a significant proportion of a species’ statewide or regional population at one time during some part of the year. This includes any site holding more than one percent of the regional or flyway population of a species; or five percent of a statewide population; or a site that supports a significantly higher number of a species than any other site in that region of Oregon.

    4b. Site generally supports at least 2,000 waterfowl in freshwater habitats or 5,000 waterfowl in marine/estuarine habitats over a short period of time during any season. Feral populations, such as urban flocks of Canada Geese, are excluded.

    4c. Site regularly supports a large number of seabirds in either marine or terrestrial (nesting or foraging) areas; or 1,000 gulls at inland sites(inland and coastal gulls are non breeding concentrations); or 5,000 gulls at coastal sites; or 50 terns over a short period of time during any season; or supports at least 100 Brown Pelicans at any time of the year. For marine birds consider places where there are oceanographic conditions that consistently attract birds. Consideration will be given to nesting and to migrating birds that depend on certain areas of the ocean for foraging opportunities.

    4d. Site regularly supports at least 100 shorebirds in freshwater habitats; or 1,000 shorebirds in marine/estuarine habitats over a short period of time during any season.

    4e. A colonial nesting site that supports greater than 50 Great Blue Heron nests; or any nesting pelicans, egrets, or Black-crowned Night-Herons during breeding season.

    4f. Site is a migratory corridor for at least 1,000 raptors (seasonal total) during spring or fall migration; or is a winter concentration areas used by at least 100 raptors. The area may include topographic features that funnel birds through a particular site.

    4g. Site supports an exceptionally high number of terrestrial birds and/or a diverse assemblage of terrestrial species during the migration season. Exact numerical thresholds have not been established, but the site should clearly be an outstanding “migrant trap” or staging area.

Land Ownership Guidelines

The cooperation and participation of private landowners and public land managers is key to the success of the IBA Program whenever possible. When considering any site as an Important Bird Area, whether public or private, discretion should be exercised in order to respect the rights and authority of landowners and managers, and to avoid the creation or perception of potential conflict. The IBA Program offers potential recognition and assistance for good land stewardship, and should be used to foster trust and cooperation with landowners and managers. Please keep the following points in mind when nominating a site and follow these guidelines whenever possible:

• Private landowners and/or public land managers should be notified by the nominator in person whenever possible if their land is being considered as a potential IBA.

• Private landowners and/or public land managers should be invited to participate in the IBA process.

• Private landowners and/or public land managers should be given every opportunity to participate in any discussions concerning their land, especially conservation planning or habitat management.

• Volunteers should never trespass on private property or enter public lands unauthorized, where authorization is required; always respect property rights and posted signs; and never engage in activities likely to arouse suspicion or hostility.

• If you encounter any negative reaction, or even anticipate such a reaction, on the part of a landowner or land manager, contact the IBA Coordinator. Do not try to pursue contact on your own if you are unsure of the response.

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