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Conservation & Education > Conservation Projects > Important Bird Areas

Important Bird Areas Program

The Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is a worldwide bird conservation program that is designed to identify, monitor, and protect the areas that are most important to birds at the population level. BirdLife International initiated the program in Europe in the 1980s. since then, over 156 countries have adopted the program. The National Audubon Society has overseen the plan in the US since 1995. The IBA program is conducted on a state-by-state basis. In Missouri 47 IBA sites were officially identified in 2004. The data from nominations used to evaluate and identify IBA sites has been used extensively by the Missouri Department of Conservation and other conservation partners during the Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy process. The Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy Plan is the means for procuring federal funding for state conservation.

Greater Ozarks Audubon nominated 11 IBA sites that are part of the 47 IBAs in Missouri. GOAS sponsors or is developing projects and activities focused in the White River Glades and Woodlands IBA at Drury-Mincy Conservation Area, at Shell Knob Glades and Woodlands IBA, at a suite of Prairies, which includes Wah'Kon-Ta Prairie, at Henning Conservation Area, and Schell-Osage Conservation Area. Committee members put in many of hours to complete the nominations packets resulting in the identification of these IBA sites. Thanks to Jerry and Margie Williams, Jackie West, Myra Scroggs, Sue Schuble, Mary Murphy, Jan Horton, Janice Greene, Ruth Grant, Alice Counts, and Charley Burwick for helping to delineate the most important areas for bird populations at the state level.

There are lots of opportunities to become active with GOAS through the local IBA committee. Contact GOAS IBA committee chair Lisa Berger to learn more or to volunteer.

WHITE RIVER GLADES AND WOODLANDS IBA - Drury-Mincy Conservation Area
Conservation targets include Swainson's Warbler, Bachman's Sparrow, Kentucky Warbler, and Prothonotary Warbler. The initial phase of this project focuses on restoration of Giant Cane stands for Swainson's Warbler and associated species. Our chapter conducts bird surveys to record wildlife response to restoration activities. As the work evolves, we will seek opportunities to expand our work to include glade and savannah restoration. In collaboration with Audubon Missouri and Missouri Department of Conservation, GOAS received an $8,800 grant to purchase a backhoe attachment to speed the process of cane restoration.

SHELL KNOB WOODLANDS IBA - Mark Twain National Forest - Missouri Department of Conservation
Conservation targets include Prairie Warbler, Greater Roadrunner, Painted Bunting, and Bachman's Sparrow. Led by Jerry and Marge Williams, volunteers are currently conducting bird inventories on a monthly basis to develop a baseline for the state park.

WESTERN CHEROKEE PRAIRIES IBA - Wah'Kon-Ta Prairie
Conservation targets include Greater Prairie Chicken, Upland Sandpiper, Henslow's Sparrow, and the suite of grassland plants, animals, and insects associated with native prairie habitat. GOAS volunteers, led by Kay Johnson and Bob Ball, were conducting Meade's Milkweed surveys and wildflower seed collection activities for The Nature Conservancy at Wah'Kon-Ta before the area was identified as an IBA site. Lisa Berger conducts paired Grassland Coalition Breeding Bird Surveys at Horse Creek/Stony Prairie IBA sites. We continue these efforts as part of our chapter's projects and activities.

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