The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) honored Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) with their National Conservation Partner Award on March 10, 2021. KBO has been collaborating with the BLM’s Medford and Lakeview districts and Oregon State and National offices for more than 20 years. The award recognized KBO’s instrumental role in applying avian science to inform public lands management and conservation. Upon receiving the award, KBO Executive Director John Alexander recognized Partners in Flight (PIF) as the catalyst for the observatory’s work with BLM:
“On behalf of myself, our Science Director Jaime Stephens, and our staff and board of directors, we thank the BLM for recognizing KBO with this award — we are honored and humbled. Our 20-plus year collaboration with BLM grew out of the agency’s long-time leadership in the PIF bird conservation initiative. KBO’s participation in the PIF network opened the door to our collaboration with BLM, and our cooperative projects were made possible through our partnering with BLM personnel who work to advance bird conservation at national, regional, and local levels. Some highlights of our work have included:
Working with Geoff Walsh, who was leading BLM’s PIF engagement of the National Office, and other PIF collaborators, we drafted the public lands chapter of the Partners in Flight 2017 Continental Plan revision based in part on KBO’s previous work with BLM and other federal land management agencies. In this chapter we outlined how PIF’s science-based approach can serve as a catalyst for improved ecosystem management. By using birds as indicators to grease the adaptive management wheel, PIF science is used to front load assessment and planning with information from huge bird monitoring data sets and detailed habitat objectives outlined in regional conservation plans. This data-driven approach helps to inform management prioritization and design that facilitates improved monitoring, which then informs adaptive decision making. With long-term monitoring results being used to described current and desired conditions, ongoing monitoring becomes a more effective tool for measuring the BLM’s ability to achieve well-defined and measurable conservation outcomes.
KBO’s work with the BLM started locally and regionally through partnerships with BLM wildlife biologists who then opened the doors for us to work directly with fire management specialists, silviculturists, conservation lands specialists, and restoration practitioners. This is where the rubber hits the road on achieving bird conservation objectives on BLM lands. As KBO Science Director, Jaime Stephens said, ‘Working with partners and then seeing our scientific results applied to decision making and on-the-ground management, is critical to achieving Klamath Bird Observatory’s mission of advancing bird and habitat conservation.’ BLM’s commitment to these long-term relationships, and their dedication to and trust in the partnership is a testament to the BLM’s leadership within PIF.
We are honored and humbled to receive the Conservation Partner Award and we greatly appreciate our-long term BLM collaborators. We share this award with our BLM partners and recognize and thank the award nominators from BLM’s Medford District and Oregon State Office — Robin Snider, Jena Volpe, Kelli Van Norman, and Charlie Schelz. KBO also recognizes two recently retired BLM employees who were central to our partnership: Barb Bresson and Terry Fairbanks. Lastly, we are thrilled to now be working with Renee Chi, who recently took on Geoff Walsh’s role as the BLM’s national representative to PIF. Also, we thank Frank Quamen for his leadership-level support of the Partners in Flight bird conservation initiative.”
To learn more about the BLM’s Conservation Partner award, click here.