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Now, more than ever, is the time to take action to ensure the conservation of the shorebirds that occur in Canada. Recent information from population surveys suggest that for 45 species, at least two-thirds are thought to be in decline. A number of different factors may be affecting these birds, including wetland drainage, pollution or disturbance on the nesting grounds. Any of these may be affecting the birds at breeding, migration, or non-breeding habitats. It is clear, however, that unless these trends are stopped or reversed, shorebirds are at risk.
Canada has a unique responsibility with respect to shorebirds because more than half of the breeding range for many species occurs in Canada. This is especially true for 15 arctic-nesting species where 86% of the breeding range in the Western Hemisphere occurs in Canada. Thus the need for an effective Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan (CSCP).
Across Canada there are six regional shorebird conservation plans that build on the framework outlined in the CSCP. Included are Northern Shorebird Conservation Strategy, Pacific and Yukon Shorebird Conservation Plan, Prairie Canada Shorebird Conservation Plan, Ontario Shorebird Conservation Plan , Quebec Shorebird Conservation Plan and Atlantic Canada Shorebird Conservation Plan. Within each region, these plans describe the conservation priorities and will guide on-the-ground actions to work towards meeting the goals of the national plan.
In addition to conservation plans, there are a number of shorebird programs that are playing an important role in the conservation of shorebirds:
The Pan American Shorebird Program is an international program to promote conservation of and research on shorebirds in the Americas by co-ordinating shorebird colour marking in the Americas and connecting observers of marked shorebirds with the banders of those birds.
The Western Atlantic Shorebird Association is an international joint venture of federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations, developed to promote the integration of shorebird research, monitoring, and education efforts along the Western Atlantic Flyway to support management efforts.
The U.S.F.W.S. Shorebird Sister Schools Program enables students to track migration and share their experiences with other "sister schools" around the world.
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