Improving our understanding of the status of waterfowl populations and the effectiveness of conservation and management actions has been a critical need since the U.S. and Canadian governments first signed the Plan back in 1986.

For many years, the Plan Committee has recognized the importance of carrying out waterfowl management as a cycle of planning, implementation, and evaluation. The Committee has acknowledged that, to effectively implement this strategy, partners would need to adopt an adaptive resource management approach at both the joint venture and continental levels. Unfortunately, insufficient human and technical resources have been available to fully implement this effort.

In 2000, the Committee established a team of individuals from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to help strengthen the biological foundations of the Plan and facilitate continuous improvement of Plan conservation programs. The NAWMP Science Support Team or 'NSST' is now the Committee's principal technical advisory body with a prominent role in helping achieve the Plan's vision and goals.

With the advent of strategic habitat conservation in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NSST is well-positioned to help develop creative, efficient approaches to carrying out waterfowl and habitat conservation in the context of all bird management.

The Premise

The NSST provides the leadership, direction, and capabilities necessary to carry out an adaptive resource management approach to conserving North America's waterfowl. It serves as the primary forum for facilitating scientific communication and collaboration among joint ventures, the Plan Committee, and federal wildlife agencies.

Its specific objectives are to:

1. Foster continuous improvement in the effectiveness of Plan partners' actions through the establishment of iterative cycles of planning, implementing, and evaluating conservation programs at both the continental and joint venture levels. At the joint venture level, established management cycles assess the costs and benefits of various conservation techniques, test key planning assumptions, and monitor progress toward joint venture goals and objectives. Joint venture technical teams lead these efforts supported by advice and coordination from the NSST.

2. Conduct large-scale studies of landscape variation and waterfowl demography. Coordination of joint venture monitoring and assessment activities, both within and among countries, is necessary to ensure a coherent, consistent approach to biological planning and evaluation. It is essential for analysis of waterfowl- habitat relationships at large spatial scales. The NSST, with support from the Plan's National offices, will lead this effort.

3. Report annually to the Plan Committee and Plan partners on the status of the biological foundations of the Plan, evaluation results, and their implications for future conservation activities. Annually, the NSST reports on the biological effectiveness of Plan activities, drawing from joint venture progress reports and original and commissioned research by the NSST. Additionally, the NSST will elaborate and reinforce any biological guidance from the Plan Committee back to the joint ventures.

The NSST and its Committees

The NSST consists of three national representatives appointed by the Plan Committee Co-Chairs, one technical representative from each of the joint ventures and flyway councils, and representatives from working groups or subcommittees of the NSST. Ad-hoc members may also be appointed by the Co-Chairs of the Plan Committee.

The Executive Committee consists of NSST officers, including a NAWMP Coordinator, Past-Chair, Chair, Vice-Chair, and an Assistant Vice-Chair. The Executive Committee has general supervision of the NSST between its business meetings.

Other Committees with designated roles and tasks include:

Pintail Action Group
Scaup Action team
Implementation Plan Review Committee
Regional Population Abundance Objectives Committee
Alternative Performance Metrics Committee
Daily Ration Models
Landscape Monitoring Committee
Demographic Population Objectives Committee
NAWMP Map Committee
Ecological Goods and Services Committee
Regional Waterfowl Habitat Conservation Objectives Committee
Nonbreeding Waterfowl Carrying Capacity Committee
Breeding Waterfowl Carrying Capacity Committee
Waterfowl Migration Modeling Committee
Non-breeding Sea Duck Habitat Needs Committee
Waterfowl Residency Committee
Climate change Downscaling Committee
NSST Technical Report Committee


In 2006, the NSST produced a comprehensive Challenge Document that presents the mission, objectives, and roles of the NSST. It charts a course for further developing the NSST's vision, goals, and objectives. The Challenge Document elucidates the primary challenges and most pressing issues facing the NSST.

Last updated: February 3, 2015