Land Bird Conservation Plan Colorado  

Executive Summary
Overview of Colorado
Physiographic Region 36
Physiographic Region 62

  • Alpine Tundra
  • Aspen
  • Cliff/Rock
  • High Elevation Riparian
  • Lowland Riparian
  • Mixed Conifer
  • Mountain Shrubland
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Sagebrush Shrubland
  • Spruce Fir
  • Wetlands


  • Physiographic Region 87
    Implementation Strategies
    Literature Cited
    Appendices

    Physiographic Region 62: Southern Rocky Mountains

    Mountain Shrubland - Implementation Strategies

    Bird Monitoring

    Goal: To monitor or track all breeding birds in mountain shrubland habitat and document distribution, population trends, and abundance in a statistically acceptable manner.

    Objective: All species with AI > 2 will be monitored with count-based methods.

    Strategy: Monitoring will be accomplished through the combined efforts of agencies with primary responsibility for managing this habitat.

    Strategy: Monitoring efforts will continue to rely on BBS data, with CBO's Monitoring Colorado's Birds (MCB) data incorporated as it becomes available.

    Status: MCB implemented mountain shrubland habitat transects in 1999 and ran a total of 22 transects. Thirty transects will be run in 2000; trend data will be available for most species within 5-12 years.

    Objective: Species with AI 2 will be tracked through count-based methods or their presence/absence in the state will be noted.

    Strategy: The MCB monitoring program will address this.

    Status: MCB was implemented in mountain shrubland habitat in 1999.

    Objective: All species with PT of 4 or 5 will be tracked with demographic monitoring.

    Strategy: CBO's MCB monitoring program will address this.

    Status: MCB demographic monitoring will begin in 2001.

    Habitat Monitoring

    Goal: To document the amount, condition, and ownership of mountain shrubland habitat in Colorado.

    Objective: Develop collaborative efforts to use GIS in mapping mountain shrubland habitat, documenting amount, condition, and ownership.

    Status: This effort has not been initiated to date. Potential collaborators include CDOW, CNHP, CBO, USGS, BLM, and TNC.

    Habitat Core Areas

    Goal: To conserve unique representatives and/or large, ecologically-functioning examples of mountain shrubland habitat in Colorado used during the breeding season, during migration, and/or during the winter.

    Objective: Identify such areas, use agency- or organization-specific means of designating and conserving them, and work with the appropriate agency or organization to promote conservation activities.

    Status: Appropriate areas that have been identified include USFS Research Natural Areas, USFS or BLM Wilderness Areas, and Colorado Natural Areas Program sites.

    Objective: Identify any of these areas that are appropriate for designation as Important Bird Areas (IBAs), nominate them, and promote involvement of local groups in conserving these areas once they are designated.

    Status: Sites with mountain shrubland habitat were nominated in 1999, and the IBA committee will make final selections in 2000.

    Objective: To maintain or increase the quantity and quality of mountain shrubland habitat on private lands.

    Strategy: Encourage landowners to take advantage of funding opportunities for creating/ restoring/maintaining mountain shrubland habitat on their properties.

    Strategy: Promote collaboration/cooperation between agencies, organizations, and individuals in conserving unique representatives/core areas with multiple ownership.

    Objective: To maintain or increase the quantity and quality of mountain shrubland habitat on public lands.

    Strategy: Integrate the BCP into management plans for public lands in the physiographic area.

    Site-based Conservation

    Goal: To conserve local breeding sites, migratory stopover sites, and wintering sites in mountain shrublands that are important for the conservation of priority species.

    Objective: Identify agency- or organization-specific means of designating and conserving key local sites. Work with appropriate agencies and organizations to designate such sites, and promote conservation activities.

    Objective: Identify key local sites that are appropriate for designation as IBAs, nominate them, and promote involvement of local groups in conserving these areas once they are designated.

    Status: Sites with mountain shrubland habitat were nominated in 1999, and the IBA committee will make final selections in 2000.

    Management Practices

    Goal: To promote management practices that benefit birds in mountain shrubland habitats.

    Objective: A Best Management Practices (BMP) manual will be produced and distributed.

    Status: Not yet initiated.

    Objective: Identify key landowners and land managers and encourage them to incorporate best management practices to conserve mountain shrubland birds and their habitat.

    Strategy: Each land manager will be asked to monitor the quantity and quality of mountain shrubland habitat. These land managers include USFS, BLM, and NPS.

    Objective: Reestablish fire to recreate a heterogeneous landscape mosaic. Fire has to be carefully implemented so that it will not establish large areas of the same age and structure but leave healthy mosaic patterns of various aged stands. Fires should not remove all shrubs but leave pockets of unburned shrubs. Concerns about cheatgrass and other exotic plants invading this habitat have to be addressed. Land managers should strive for a no net loss of mountain shrubland. There is nothing wrong with burning this habitat type as long as it is not lost--it has just become part of the natural mosaic of habitats within the landscape.

    Objective: Remove some mountain shrubland habitat from livestock grazing or reduce livestock grazing to improve the habitat and to recreate a heterogeneous landscape mosaic.

    Strategy: Encourage managers of public lands to set aside pastures for permanent or long-term rest (at least 25-50 years).

    Objective: Increase the conservation value of mountain shrubland habitat.

    Strategy: Work with land managers to encourage planting of native species that include appropriate native shrubs when revegetating disturbed habitat. The tendency is to revegetate with only grasses and forbs leaving out the landscape structure (i.e., shrubs) important to nesting birds.

    Interstate/International Wintering Grounds

    Goal: To conserve the wintering ground habitat used by birds of mountain shrubland.

    Objective: Document amount, condition, and ownership of available habitat on the wintering grounds.

    Strategy: Utilize GIS (state GAP projects, Heritage Program, and/or CBO).

    Strategy: Coordinate with appropriate state PIFs, domestic and foreign government agencies, and NGOs to obtain data.

    Objective: Conserve wintering habitat used by the Green-tailed Towhee and Virginia's Warbler. This includes dense scrub habitat in northern Mexico and the Baja Peninsula for the Green-tailed Towhee and dense scrub of Mexico's semi-arid west-central highlands for the Virginia's Warbler. Track amount of available habitat on the wintering grounds to determine if habitat is shrinking, remaining stable or increasing

    Objective: Develop collaborative efforts with other states and countries on projects (e.g., education, research, fund-raising, donations, etc.) which benefit the Green-tailed Towhee and Virginia's Warbler on their winter habitat.

    Migration Concerns

    Goal: To protect migratory stopover habitat of priority birds of mountain shrublands as they migrate outside of the state.

    Objective: Identify important migratory stopover areas for priority species that breed in Colorado, and key sites for priority species that breed elsewhere.

    Objective: Track amount, condition, and ownership of key migratory stopover sites.

    Strategy: Coordinate with appropriate state PIFs, domestic and foreign government agencies, and NGOs to protect migratory habitat of Green-tailed Towhee and Virginia's Warbler.

    Outreach and Education

    Goal: To provide information on mountain shrubland priority species (conservation, habitat needs, natural history, etc.) to children, teachers, naturalists, landowners, natural resource professionals, and other interested parties.

    Strategy: Make educational materials available at local nature centers and natural resource agency offices.

    Strategy: Hold workshops and field programs for teachers.

    Strategy: Hold workshops and field programs for natural resource professionals (CDOW, BLM, and USFS staff).

    Strategy: Develop materials for county commissioners and local planning boards.

    Strategy: Present information at Teacher Association meetings, conferences, other annual meetings.

    Strategy: Submit manuscripts to popular magazines for children and adults.

    Research Priorities

    Goal: To identify and facilitate research that will aid in understanding and managing mountain shrubland habitats for Colorado's birds.

    Objective: To identify the top ten research needs in mountain shrubland habitat in Colorado.

    Strategy: Update the list of research needs annually to reflect shifting conservation priorities and to remove research needs from the list as they are investigated.

    Strategy: Solicit input from researchers and managers on research needs and accomplishments.

    Status: The following research needs have been identified:

    1. Determine the relationships of precipitation, habitat condition, and population distributions at the landscape level.

    2. Determine the effects of prescribed burning in mountain shrubland habitats on bird populations, with an emphasis on Green-tailed Towhees and Virginia's Warblers.

    3. Determine the effects on bird populations of different grazing regimes.

    4. Identify key migratory stopover and wintering areas and habitats.

    5. Conduct demographic studies for Virginia's Warbler and Green-tailed Towhee.

    6. Determine minimum shrub canopy cover (threshold level) needed to support viable populations of Virginia's Warbler and Green-tailed Towhee.

    7. Identify areas of concern in the state where impacts from humans have a negative impact on these two species.

    8. Identify principal wintering areas for Virginia's Warbler and Green-tailed Towhee in Mexico.

    Strategy: Facilitate investigations to answer these questions by providing information about priority needs to universities, public and private research entities, identifying funding sources, and promoting collaboration between management and research agencies.


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