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Atlas of Breeding Sites for Waterbirds in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

The coastal zone of the northern Gulf of Mexico supports a diverse array of breeding waterbirds. Because of the dynamic nature of coastal habitats, waterbirds may shift the location of their breeding sites interannually in response to availability, size, and stability of substrates. Such changes can affect local population size or structure, foraging locations, and threat exposure. Overlaid on this dynamic system is a stakeholder network of three Joint Ventures responsible for management of
species and breeding habitats that includes five state agencies, multiple federal agencies, and numerous private organizations. Information and data regarding the location and status of colonies is collected regularly but remains scattered among the stakeholder network and difficult to source.

Habitat management, monitoring, and research, as well as marine spatial planning, oil spill response plans, and post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration can benefit from a coast-wide spatial inventory of waterbird breeding sites. With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we are developing an atlas and registry of waterbird breeding sites that integrate existing data from 2010 to 2022. 38 datasets from 7 data providers have been incorporated, representing around 44,000 surveys of 38 breeding species. This resource will provide critical contemporary information to understand the distribution and status of breeding waterbirds in the northern Gulf of Mexico.


Data providers:

Alabama Audubon

Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

Audubon Delta

Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Texas Colonial Waterbird Society

Data compilers:
Patrick Jodice
, USGS South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Kathy Hixson, South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Yvan Satgé, South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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