ABC has been committed to NABCI since well before its inception. Indeed, both and of ABC attended the very first meeting in the long process that led to the formation of NABCI. This was hosted by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in 1996 in Montreal, and was the first time that broad representation from the United States, Canada, and Mexico got together to consider whether or not a more unified continental approach to bird conservation made sense. That led to a series of meetings attended by three representatives from each country designed to identify commonalities and opportunities. David Pashley represented the US non-governmental organization community throughout those years, along with Paul Schmidt of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Gary Myers of Tennessee representing state wildlife agencies. By 1998, the term North American Bird Conservation Initiative had been coined and the first broadening of involvement away from those nine individuals and the CEC involved a trinational meeting held in Puebla, Mexico. David was heavily involved in planning this meeting, and both he and George attended. In the eyes of many, this was the moment that NABCI came into being.
Much hard work remained before NABCI could take on a form within each of the three countries that could be effective. In the US, and interim NABCI committee was appointed late in 1998, of which David was a member. This interim committee had two charges: to write a vision for NABCI in the US and to determine the composition and function of a permanent US NABCI Committee. Scott Yaich, interim chair and then of Arkansas Game and Fish (currently with Ducks Unlimited), took the lead in writing the vision while David took the lead in creating the permanent committee.
The original US NABCI Committee consisted of nine members, representing four bird initiatives (Partners in Flight, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the US Shorebird Conservation Plan, and what was then the North American Colonial Waterbird Conservation Plan), the National Flyway Councils, Wildlife Management Institute, and Ducks Unlimited, and co-chaired by the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the President of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. That original committee first met in November of 1998 and made two decisions of great importance to ABC. The first was selection of David Pashley as US Coordinator for NABCI, essentially serving as staff for that committee. The second was addition of two more members, representing the new NGO and Federal Agency Subcommittees. The NGO Subcommittee met shortly thereafter and selected George Fenwick of ABC as its representative to the US NABCI Committee. George has served in that capacity ever since, and at a time when it was decided to add a third co-chair, this one representing the NGO community, George was selected and has served as co-chair ever since.
Although there was initially partial funding for the US NABCI Coordinator from the CEC, that support has dwindled and no longer exists. Since November of 1998, ABC has otherwise taken sole responsibility for support of the US Coordinator position. Although many agencies and organizations have made significant commitments to NABCI, none has played as selfless as role as has ABC.
ABC recognized early on, along with others in the NABCI community, that Joint Ventures should be the mechanisms that deliver bird conservation on the ground in the US. ABC also felt that Joint Ventures, as then constructed and with a few exceptions, were not sufficiently staffed to have the capacity to do much more than waterfowl or wetland conservation. ABC committed itself to providing that staff expertise where it could make the most important immediate contributions to the collective ability of Joint Ventures to be the NABCI delivery mechanism. Again, through directed fundraising, ABC first hired to be BCR Coordinator for the Northern Rockies, then for the Northern Pacific Rainforest, and then for the Central Hardwoods. ABC has and continues to work with other partners (most notably the US Forest Service) to support BCR Coordinators and JV support staff in the Great Basin , Shortgrass Prairie , West Gulf Coastal Plain, Boreal Hardwood Transition , and California. This pioneering work, as much pioneering work often is, was distrusted and spurned by a narrow minority in the conservation community for a period of time, and ABC suffered setbacks for having taken bold steps to recast the system. Those obstacles have been overcome, as the community as a whole now understands the tremendous value added by this new staff. You can learn more regarding the contributions of the ABC BCR Coordinators in the near future when individual pages regarding each BCR are added to this web site.
You can learn a great deal about the North American Bird Conservation Initiative in the US by looking at its web site ; an additional site summarizing international issues will also soon be available. American Bird Conservancy applauds the contributions of the many individuals, agencies, and organizations to the growth and success of NABCI, and, at the same time, is proud to claim that no other entity has made a commitment and contribution to NABCI equal to that of ABC. – less–ZoomInfo