This project supports monitoring and a collaborative research project for marshbirds. Marshbirds are one of several vital signs recommended by the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Network to be included in long-term monitoring in order to understand and protect resources of a park. In particular, the saltmarsh sparrow is used as an indicator species for monitoring the health of a saltmarsh. As sea levels rise, there are concerns that marshes will continue to shrink, and loss of habitat will negatively impact saltmarsh sparrow populations as well as other marsh species. The saltmarsh sparrow is considered globally endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List and is being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
There are four main goals of this project:
1) Continue NPS long-term monitoring of marshbirds at established survey points at FIIS
2) Assist in initiating a new sampling design with additional survey points throughout FIIS marshes to adequately monitor marshbirds on a local park scale
3) Assist with a collaborative restoration research project with USFWS, looking at creating microhabitats (marsh mats) for the saltmarsh sparrow
4) Assist the NPS Biologist in engaging with local partners and improving citizen science opportunities.