Back from the Northwestern Atlantic Marine Bird Conservation Cooperative

1 03 2012

The pool area at the conference center in Sturbridge. The closest I'm likely to get to the tropics this year.

Longest name for a group, and yet, one of the shortest meetings I have attended. Yesterday, I traveled down to Sturbridge, Massachusetts to join in on at least one day of the group’s discussions. The Northwestern Atlantic Marine Bird Conservation Cooperative (NAMBCC, I suppose) is a coalition of federal biologists, academic scientists, conservation-oriented non-profits and state wildlife professionals who work to address threats to Atlantic marine birds. the group meets once  a year to determine priorities and identify working groups to address those priorities. Products of the group’s work can include funding proposals, business plans, formal reports, or articles for publication in scientific journals. This year, the major focus has been on offshore wind development and the potential impacts on marine birds. The group has an eye toward developing guidelines and best practices for assessing those impacts both before and after wind farm development.

Though wind power was certainly the dominant issue, your SEANET blogger did get a chance to meet with Caleb Spiegel, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who is tasked with addressing the issue of fatal interactions between seabirds and fishing gear. This issue, termed bycatch, is one close to SEANET’s heart, dealing as it does with dead seabirds. Our beloved John Stanton, Supervisory Wildlife Biologist for USFWS’s Region 4, was also in on the meeting, and all three of us are optimistic for future collaboration between Caleb’s program and SEANET’s endeavors, particularly those dealing with public education on the issue of bycatch, as well as with necropsies on the carcasses of birds retrieved from fishing nets.

As a snowstorm closed in on New England, the meeting adjourned early so we could all go scuttling back to our homes. Here in New Hampshire, it’s coming down pretty steadily. After a nearly completely snow-free winter, I, for one, am very pleased to see this heavy blanket of snow. Just as long as we don’t lose power, of course. After all, what’s a blogger deprived of internet access? A lame duck indeed.

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