Range-Wide Migratory Bird Conservation Through Linking Partnerships
A Hemispheric Perspective
"Great Salt Lake is the site of one of the largest shorebird concentrations in the world. If a light were lit where each shorebird began its journey, a map of Alaska, Canada, and the northwestern US would shine as with stars in the night sky. Add a light for each destination and the map would glitter from Utah south through Mexico and Central America to the tip of South America." Ella Sorensen - Great Salt Lake Naturalist
The Utah Linking Initiative participates in connecting people along a migratory bird pathway that extends from the Chaplin and Quill Lakes of Canada, through the Great Salt Lake of the United States, to the Marismas Nacionales of Mexico and beyond.
Linking promotes range-wide conservation of migratory birds that each community shares and the endemic birds that frequent these environments. As Linking partners we work within our communities and cooperate internationally to preserve these critical areas for their ecological values, and the economic, educational, social and cultural wellbeing of the people who live near them.
In the western hemisphere, Great Salt Lake serves as a major resting, staging and nesting site for millions of migratory birds as they travel between their winter and summer habitats. In the spring, American white pelicans, American avocets, Black-necked stilts, Marbled godwits and Peregrine falcons, to name a few, make their way to the upper reaches of Canada to the province of Sasketchewan. In the fall, they return through Great Salt Lake, then migrate south to Nayarit, Mexico or beyond.
The promise that these seasonal habitats will be there to receive them during migration is contingent upon a number of factors. Ironically, these factors are the very ones that have been identified as major threats to the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem; development in wetland and upland habitats, diversion of water to those habitats, discharges that affect water quality for the fauna and flora, and ignorance about the importance of these habitats for migrating birds.
Preserving these hemispheric habitats and the bird species that rely on them is called range wide migratory bird conservation and requires international cooperation or "linking partnerships" to achieve such a goal. A linking partnership exists between Canada, the United States, Mexico and South America. The hope is that through communication, education and shared research; migratory bird species and their habitats will be protected throughout the hemisphere.
Learn more here: Linking Communities, Wetlands and Migratory Birds Initiative