by Mike Swezy
The district was the recipient of the Conservation Partner Leadership Award for 2011 from PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO), awarded annually to a partner agency involved with conservation of birds and ecosystems. At PRBO’s annual membership meeting held May 15 at the Red Barn at Point Reyes National Seashore, the district shared the stage with other award recipients recognized for leadership and service, including the U.S. Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service. The district has worked with PRBO since 1996 beginning with initiation of a long-term, watershed-wide monitoring program for land birds (aka “the songbird study”). This work provides a baseline to monitor ecosystem health especially when evaluated using data from a larger region. Recently, PRBO reported that when water district bird trends were compared with bird surveys for all of California, it found more species are stable or increasing on MMWD lands than in the rest of the state (read the report here).
PRBO Conservation Science is a non-profit organization founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory. PRBO does bird ecology research, creates management tools, leads field science training programs, and develops and delivers bird science education programs to advance biodiversity conservation in the west on land and at sea. PRBO scientists study birds because they are excellent indicators of environmental health: they are top predators, relatively inexpensive to monitor and widely distributed.
Other studies conducted on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed through PRBO include annual monitoring of northern spotted owls, evaluation of wild turkey populations, and evaluation of work projects in nesting birds. These and other regular studies on key species and habitats provide the scientific basis for MMWD stewardship of public lands and streams in Marin County.