WHSRN:Georgia's Barrier Islands Designated a Landscape of Hemispheric Importance!
We all know that Georgia’s coast is an unparalleled wonder of the world. Now the rest of the world will, too.
Now it’s time to celebrate! Join us for the official designation ceremony, and help us mark this significant milestone for our coast. Hear our keynote speaker, Peter Stangel of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, and guest speakers from One Hundred Miles, WHSRN, Manomet, and other special guests. After the ceremony, take a tour of Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, with stops to see one of Georgia’s largest wading bird rookeries.
Thursday, May 17 • 2:00 pm
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
5000 Wildlife Drive, Townsend, GA
Free • All are welcome!
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Alice Keyes.Read the official press release announcing the designation and learn more about the shorebirds and habitats of Georgia’s barrier islands. For more information about the WHSRN designation, photos, or other media inquiries, please contact Alice Keyes, OHM Vice President of Coastal Conservation, at (912) 230-6494.
Georgia’s barrier islands provide a rich shorebird environment, annually supporting tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds of more than 20 species. Our coast is especially important to migrating and wintering red knots (Calidris canutus), semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) and piping plovers (Charadrius melodus). Georgia has documented more than 50% of the threatened rufa Red Knot subspecies on our coast. We also host significant numbers of nesting American oystercatchers and Wilson’s plovers. Every changing season is a great season for shorebirds across our 100 miles.
One Hundred Miles is proud to be a member of the Georgia Shorebird Alliance (GSA), a partnership between governments, researchers, NGO, and private citizens committed to advancing shorebird and seabird conservation. In early 2016, One Hundred Miles and the GSA nominated Georgia’s barrier islands to be designated a WHSRN ‘Landscape of Hemispheric Importance’ for shorebirds. Since that time, we have worked to coordinate the outreach around this important effort to bring attention to the significance of Georgia’s coast as critical wintering and foraging habitat for migrating shorebirds. This designation will bring increased awareness to our region, promote our nature based economy, and bring international funding opportunities for conservation and research to our coast. We look forward to working with our partners to educate Georgia residents and visitors about the designation and the simple steps we can all take to protect shorebirds and other wildlife.
The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network
The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) is a long-standing conservation strategy for celebrating and protecting shorebirds over a wide geographic range in North and South America. There are currently 99 other North America meeting WHSRN criteria, supporting shorebirds in all three stages of habitat need: nesting, migration, and non-nesting. The Altamaha River Delta was dedicated as a coastal Georgia site of regional importance by the WHSRN Council in 1999.
Biologists and bird enthusiasts recognize that valuable shorebird habitat is found through the entirety of our coastal landscape – this includes the Altamaha River Delta, as well as the estuaries, salt marshes, barrier island beaches, and sand bars.
A WHSRN designation is non-regulatory and serves to:
- Raise public awareness about the value of shorebirds and the importance of coastal habitats.
- Recognize a unique system of international sites across the western hemisphere and conservation efforts in those areas.
- Promote a suite of year-round conservation activities and education to help protect shorebird species of concern.
- Generate conservation funding opportunities.
- Act as a resource for planning and conservation efforts related to shorebird and habitat conservation.
This prestigious designation connects our coast with 99 other sites in 14 countries and countless landowners and stewards committed to conserving shorebirds and their habitats. With this announcement, the barrier islands of Georgia’s 100-mile coast became the 100th WHSRN site.
Join us in celebrating Georgia’s barrier islands as the 100th WHSRN site!
Photos by Brad Winn, Manomet.