Western Vermont Collaborative

Mark LaBarr from Audubon Vermont talking about a Golden-winged Warbler during a workshop. Photo credit: Audubon Vermont

The Western Vermont Golden-chain Collaborative (WVC) is a partnership between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Charlotte Land Trust, Hinesburg Land Trust, Hinesburg Conservation Commission, Lake Champlain Land Trust, Middlebury Area Land Trust, Vermont Land Trust, and Audubon Vermont. Driven by the geospatial and management work of Audubon Vermont, the partnership is connecting land trusts and bird conservation organizations and fostering collaboration between these groups for bird conservation.

WVC unites the region’s land trusts under a common goal of increasing connectivity between protected lands critical to Golden-winged Warblers. Further, the partnership helps land trusts access new grant funds and creates opportunities to work with landowners open to protecting birds on their land. The WVC will continue to strengthen relationships between local land trusts to connect bird conservation efforts in the region and allow land trusts to take a regional perspective when prioritizing new land parcels for protection.

The Golden-winged Warbler

In Vermont, the Golden-winged Warbler is a flagship species representing young forest and shrubland habitats and the many associated wildlife species. Vermont comprises the northeastern most part of the Golden-winged Warbler’s range, thus the state is a key part of plans to stabilize the declining populations. Land trusts are important to this mission as a large portion of Golden-winged Warbler habitat in Vermont is in people’s backyards. Therefore, the WVC assists conservation efforts on private lands through education, outreach, and management when working with local land trusts.

Collaboration for Bird Conservation

Removing invasive plants during management for Golden-winged Warblers at Wright Park. Photo credit: Audubon Vermont

The WVC’s main objectives are to:

-prioritize, map, and identify areas in western Vermont that are important for the Golden-winged Warbler and associated young forest species through a series of mapping exercises that identify the area and distribution of young forest in western Vermont, the number and area of parcels that are best suited to support young forest bird species, the highest priority parcels for protection, and parcels that could be enhanced through management;

-build and implement workshops, events, and an outreach strategy with private landowners and land trust partners who can help to disseminate key messages, build capacity, and engage the public;

-conduct habitat assessments associated with the Natural Resources Conservation Services Young Forest Regional Conservation Partnership Program and USFWS Partners Program;

-develop and implement conservation strategies and management actions with flexible options on land trust lands to maintain and improve habitat, and inform landowners of incentive programs that that will help achieve management goals.

Golden-winged Warbler Information

More information on Golden-winged Warbler Working Groups, the Golden-winged Warbler Status Review and Conservation Plan, regional Golden-winged Warbler BMPs, and habitat guides can be found on the working group site and through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s conservation strategy.