Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

$223,000 Federal Grant Supports Conservation of Imperiled Shorebird in Delaware Bay and South America

June 24, 2004


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week awarded a $223,000 grant to the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) in support of international efforts to conserve the red knot, a migratory shorebird, along Delaware Bay (N.J. and Del.), Argentina and Chile, according to Marvin Moriarty, Northeast Regional Director for the Service. The grant will be matched by $668,000 from other sources.

"Red knot populations have steadily decreased in recent history," said Charles Duncan, director of WHSRN. "Conservation of the species will depend on unified international efforts to protect the red knot population and places where it congregates along its migratory path from the Arctic to the southern tip of South America."

Surveys at main wintering areas on the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego showed a 45 percent decline from the mid-1980s to 2003, during which time the population decreased from 67,500 to 30,000 birds, according to Duncan. The species is vulnerable at all stages of its life as huge portions of the population gather at only a few locations along its migratory route.

Delaware Bay is a prominent staging area for the species en route each spring to Arctic breeding grounds. The concurrent spawning of horseshoe crabs in the bay provides the knots an abundant food source to sustain them for their journey. Project partners in New Jersey and Delaware will develop a biological model to quantify the amount of crab eggs necessary to sustain the red knot population.

At WHSRN sites in San Antonio Oeste and at the Rio Gallegos Estuary Provincial Reserve in Argentina, project partners will build nature interpretive centers, develop management plans and community outreach programs to protect critical seasonal red knot habitats, and train and support nature guides and reserve guards.

In Chile, project partners will create a modest research and education station at Bahia Lomas, which hosts the hemispheres largest population of wintering red knots. Additionally, the site will be nominated as a WHSRN site.

International organizations contributing an additional $668,000 for the project include the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, State of New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program, Fundaci

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