Historically conservation efforts around the country have been funded by the hunting and fishing communities through the purchase of licenses and taxes on equipment. Seldom has such an opportunity been presented to birders.
In Missouri we have been fortunate to develop partnerships with MDC (Missouri Department of Conservation) and DNR (Department of Natural Resources) where birders can enjoy their outdoor passion (birding) and with minimal effort provide valuable information for use by our governmental partners as they plan for good stewardship of our public lands.
ASM, as the representative statewide organization of birders, manages the data online, responds to new and different needs of the funders, and raises funds to participate in partnership efforts with other organizations for habitat acquisition and restoration.
Phase I of CACHE (state conservation areas) was born in late 2005. SPARKS (state parks) followed in 2007. The initial agreements called for collecting bird sightings that would generate printable checklists
and bird occurrence data for each area. As the programs have evolved and matured, the funders have found additional uses for the data and requests for annual reports may change from year to year.
Not only are these reports useful to our public land managers as they make decisions such as when to mow or the importance of maintaining that small wetland, the aggregate information allows ASM to present more information about the birds of our public lands to the general public (see the distribution graphs under Birder Tools
). As the volume of data continues to grow, so will the usefulness of this type of reporting.
Each year DNR provides a list of focus parks, generally IBAs and Bird Conservation Areas, where additional data on bird populations is desired for monitoring and planning. MDC defines target areas for the year so that birders can plan trips to some of these under-reported areas and increase the valuable information. These areas are highlighted in the data entry form and are also presented on their own page
The provision of these services to our governmental partners provides ASM with funds to support partnership bird habitat projects and other bird-related projects and activities.
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