Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Carolina
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Carolina Project

An Atlas and Registry for Seabird Colonies and Associated Habitats in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

January 2021 - March 2024


Participating Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
An Eastern brown pelican returns to its nest on Raccoon Island, Louisiana.

The coastal zone of the northern Gulf supports a diverse array of breeding nearshore seabirds most of which are colonial and nest on islands, marshes, mainland beaches, or human-made structures. Although nest-site fidelity is common among seabirds, the dynamic nature of the coastal zone in the northern Gulf can result in inter-annual shifts in the locations of colonies and in the existence, size, or stability of the islands or habitats that support them.

Overlaid on this dynamic system is a stakeholder network responsible for management of these species and their breeding habitats that includes natural resource agencies from five states, multiple federal agencies (e.g., USFWS, NPS, BLM, DOD, ACOE), and numerous private organizations (e.g., National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy).

In an effort to coordinate and facilitate the management and conservation of avian taxa throughout this wide range of habitats and across this complex network of stakeholders in the northern Gulf, the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network (GoMAMN) recently released strategic monitoring guidelines that highlighted the need for a spatial inventory of breeding sites of seabirds in the region.

The development of this Atlas will build from efforts by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture’s Bird Nesting Island Cooperative, and it’s “Atlas” Team. Stakeholders from each Gulf state and from regional NGOs will also be participating.

The Atlas will support inventory, monitoring, management, disaster response, and research. The atlas and register also will be valuable for marine spatial planning issues, including but not limited to sighting wind turbines, scheduling and siting sand-dredging and beach nourishment operations, managing recreation and access, and land/marine conservation planning.

Presentations Presentation Date
Satgé, Y., K.M. Hixson, J. Gleason, P.G.R. Jodice. 2023. Update on the forthcoming Gulf of Mexico nesting waterbird atlas and registry. Waterbird Society 46th Annual Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. October 2023
Jodice, P.G.R., K. Hixson^, Y. Satgé^, J. Gleason. 2024. A New Tool for Avian Management and Conservation: An Atlas of Nesting Waterbirds in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Gulf of Mexico Annual Conference, Tampa, Florida. February 2024