The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is dependent on strong collaborative partnerships to succeed at conservation. We recognize that GCBO alone cannot address the significant challenges that face birds today. In fact, no single agency or organization can. By working together, everyone accomplishes more. Our staff is experienced at helping people come together to forge and implement collaborative solutions that meet local as well as Gulf-wide needs for birds and habitat stewardship. In addition, we partner with organizations that are working toward broader conservation and community engagement and awareness goals. Our partners and our organization have been widely recognized for the significant conservation actions and the diverse cooperative partnerships that completed them. A few of our key partnerships are listed below.

Partners in Flight

Partners in Flight was launched in 1990 in response to growing concerns about declines in the populations of many land bird species. The initial focus was on neotropical migrants, species that breed in the Nearctic (North America) and winter in the Neotropics (Central and South America), but the focus has spread to include all landbirds. The central premise of Partners in Flight has been that the resources of public and private organizations in the Western Hemisphere must be combined, coordinated, and increased in order to achieve success in conserving bird populations in this hemisphere.

Partners in Flight is a cooperative effort involving partnerships among federal, state and local government agencies, philanthropic foundations, professional organizations, conservation groups, industry, the academic community, and private individuals. The Partners in Flight mission is expressed in three related concepts: Helping Species at Risk; Keeping Common Birds Common; and Voluntary Partnerships for Birds, Habitats and People.

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Gulf Coast Joint Venture

The Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) is a bird habitat conservation partnership that spans the coastal portions of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. It is one of 18 bird habitat joint ventures in the U.S.

The mission of the GCJV is to advance the conservation of important bird habitats within the GCJV region through biological planning, implementation of habitat conservation actions, and focused monitoring and evaluation of the planning and implementation process. Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is a member of the GCJV Management Board, which is composed of a diverse array of partners from federal and state government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners involved in the conservation of bird habitat and populations along the western U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast.

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Lone Star Coastal National Recreational Area

The proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area would include sites spanning four coastal counties: Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston, and Chambers. It would be built around a core of existing sites through coordination and cooperation by public, private, and nonprofit landowners. A National Recreation Area for the Upper Texas Coast would include only those public and private landowners who voluntarily chose to participate. It is envisioned as a non-contiguous cluster of lands, historic sites and structures within the region, to be leveraged and promoted by a custom-built, locally-governed partnership between the participants and the NPS. NPS’s expertise in education, visitor services, tourism marketing and stakeholder coordination, among other things, make them a valued partner in this expansive public-private partnership.

GCBO is a member of the LSCNRA Coalition, a diverse coalition of stakeholders who has worked together over the past three years to develop and define the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area. This coalition includes a region-wide steering committee, participating landowners that together represent more than 20,000 acres of suitable park-related sites, and other supporting entities from within the project area. The Coalition is led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, honorary chair, and John L. Nau, III, chair, and is facilitated by the National Parks Conservation Association, which provides staffing and other resources.

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American Bird Conservancy

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the western hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist. They are the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With their mission to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas, ABC is a valuable partner to GCBO’s conservation and research programs. GCBO has collaborated with ABC on a Beach Nesting Birds project since 2012. What started out as a collaborative effort to educate the public about beach nesting birds affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has blossomed into a full-fledged research project monitoring nesting Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, and Black Skimmers at three beach sites in two counties and the Dow skimmer lot in Freeport, Texas. GCBO’s contribution is part of a larger Gulf Coastal Birds Program managed by ABC across the Gulf of Mexico including several partners in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

GCBO has a long history of partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Starting with providing a trailer for our hawk watchers at Smith Point after Hurricane Ike destroyed the cabin they were staying in to supporting our project to protect beach nesting bird habitat in Freeport, Texas, the USFWS always has our back. We have worked on several important research projects with FWS biologists as well. These include an Eastern Willet Migration Project in which we are determining where Gulf coast breeding eastern Willets spend the winter and a coastal Motus Network which includes 15 towers along the coast to track migrating birds outfitted with nanotags. FWS has also funded an intertidal reef study to help determine the importance of intertidal reef to waterbirds and shorebirds during breeding and winter when millions of shorebirds call the Texas coast home.

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