Important Bird and Birding Areas
NJ's IBBA Goals and Process
Building on the initial IBA successes in other states, New Jersey Audubon, working closely with NJ's Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) and the National Audubon Society, launched an expanded initiative, the Important Bird and Birding Areas (IBBA) Program.  NJ's IBBA Program identifies sites that are essential for sustaining native bird populations (Important Bird Areas) and areas that are exceptional for birdwatching (Important Birding Areas).

Our Goals
  • Identify a network of key sites (Important Bird Areas) that will help sustain naturally occurring populations of birds in NJ.
  • Identify sites exceptional for birdwatching in NJ.
  • Ensure the continued viability of these Important Bird and Birding Areas.
  • Raise public awareness of the value of habitat for birds and other native wildlife.
  • Generate increased support for conservation by educating private industry, landowners and other stakeholders about the economic and educational value of birdwatching.
The IBBA Process
  1. Committee Formation and Criteria Development
  2. Public IBBA Site Nominations
  3. Review and Selection of Sites
  4. Site Boundary Delineation and Mapping
  5. Production and Dissemination of IBBA Site Reports
Ongoing:  Conservation and Outreach Activities

The conservation and outreach phase of the program is ongoing and long-range in its goals.  In the first phase of the program, we selected sites in NJ that clearly meet the criteria as "model" Important Bird Areas and Important Birding Areas.  We use these as keystone sites to demonstrate the process, promote the concept and implement simple conservation measures where needed.  For example, we will hold one or more public site designation events to draw attention to the importance of the site.  Similar events in Pennsylvania and New York have generated media attention and helped focus the spotlight on birds and their habitats.

In second phase of the project, we worked with the committees and other essential partners to prioritize sites and several sites were chosen for the development of conservation plans.  These plans are carefully coordinated with the input of landowners and land managers, land trusts and conservation groups and other local stakeholders.  Audubon chapters and local groups will be called on to take a leadership role.  The goal is to have a draft plan for each of these areas detailing the key threats to the birds at the site and outlining a conservation strategy- involving direct protection by public acquisition or easement, adopting best management practices, landowner education or other alternatives.  Click here to download a example of an IBA Conservation Plan.

We continue working with multiple partners and stakeholders to integrate sites into existing conservation initiatives and programs, including landowner incentive grants, acquisition funding and land use regulations, to further develop mechanisms for site protection.  Finally, we have initiated citizen science monitoring procedures on and use the resulting data to maintain current site-specific avian and habitat data, monitoring the progress of the program and changes in bird populations.