North American Waterfowl Management Program
In 1986 the United States and Canada signed an agreement created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would forever alter the way we approach conservation efforts: the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). This plan became the foundational bird conservation partnership that many others would be modeled after. Mexico would ultimately sign this agreement in 1994, further solidifying what made the plan so monumental.
It was a shift in the paradigm of how we approached conservation. Previously conservation efforts had been executed in a sporadic, piecemeal fashion. NAWMP however, aimed to bring together conservation efforts to collaborate on not just a national level, but at the international level. NAWMP created regional partnerships known as migratory bird joint ventures. There are 25 total joint ventures22 habitat focused ventures which are geographically specific and 3 species focused ventures that are international. Though the plan focuses on waterfowl species in particular, the ventures' efforts benefit many more species.
Since it's creation in 1986, NAWMP has been updated multiple times in an effort to strengthen the biological foundation it rests upon. Updates to the plan have also lead to the expanding and redefinition of habitat restoration goals. As per the collaborative nature of the plan, the joint ventures have continued to make new partners and forge new ties with other bird conservation measures since the plan's implementation. In 2005, a committee was created to review the NAWMP and assess its actions over the twenty years prior. The report released by the committee in 2007 exuded optimism as it lauded positive results. The report found that many species had seen substantial increases in their populations, but the report caveated that there was still a great deal of work left in order to meet the organization's goals. Today joint ventures are still hard at work protecting our nation's waterfowl and other avifauna.