ABOUT THE PROJECT
Audubon's Bottomlands for Birds Project works with conservation-minded landowners in Important Bird Areas along the upper Mississippi River.
The project goal is to benefit birds through floodplain forest conservation. In Minnesota and Iowa, Forest Bird Habitat Assessments and Land Management Recommendations are being offered free to interested private property holders. Audubon will assist landowners in understanding, obtaining and applying technical and financial resources that are available for implementation.
Of the assessment and recommendations, participating landowner and director of the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN Robert Hedin says, “I wish to thank you for your assessment of the Anderson Center. It’s very, very thorough, and we appreciate what you have done…You did such a thorough job this will be a strategic plan for us.” So far recommendations have been given for 2000 acres of land, and recommendations are being written for several hundred more acres.
How the Project Works
Forest Bird Habitat Assessments include an initial visit to properties by Audubon to assess current conditions and to learn about any existing land management strategies and desired future conditions. If property owners are interested in further participation in the project, Audubon’s team of natural resource specialists -- including a group leader, local forest specialist, ornithologist, and/or other conservation experts -- will visit the property and talk with the landowner to develop Land Management Recommendations.
These recommendations will promote songbird populations in the area and will identify resources that will assist landowners in implementing the recommendations. Audubon can assist landowners in understanding, obtaining and applying these resources. Assistance in monitoring the land to track progress of restoration efforts and to measure the response of songbirds to habitat improvements can be provided by local Audubon volunteers.
Audubon’s bottomland management strategies for birds focus on three umbrella species: prothonotary warbler, red-shouldered hawk, and cerulean warbler. Protecting habitat for these species also benefits many other birds such as the rose-breasted grosbeak, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, Acadian flycatcher, red-bellied woodpecker, eastern wood pewee, great crested flycatcher, blue-gray gnatcatcher, American redstart, ovenbird, yellow-throated vireo, and the Louisiana waterthrush. Improving private lands in the bottomland floodplain forest to meet the specific habitat requirements of the umbrella species will aid many additional birds and allow their populations to grow.
Interested in learning more about Audubon’s Bottomlands for Birds Project? Contact Don Arnosti at 612-718-3626 or email.
Land Management Strategies that Benefit Birds
There are also many practices that promote a variety of species. Find out what you can do to make your land better for birds. MORE
An Introduction to the Bottomland Floodplain Forest Habitat of the Upper Mississippi:
The forests along the upper Mississippi River and its tributaries comprise one of the largest floodplain communities in the United States. This dynamic habitat is adapted to the normal flow of the river and its seasonal floods, providing a unique environment full of opportunity for birds and wildlife. MORE
Birds that Benefit from Healthy Bottomlands:
Numerous bird species benefit from healthy bottomlands, but the red-shouldered hawk, prothonotary warbler, cerulean warbler, and bald eagle are species that are particularly sensitive to their surroundings and require mature and healthy bottomland habitat. MORE
Local Partners in Environmental Protection
Learn more about partner organizations working to protect the upper Mississippi River bottomlands:
- The Mississippi Valley Conservancy works on conservation efforts in the Coulee region. The Conservancy works with landowners directly in conservation easements, making private property into nature preserves, and restoration efforts like burnings and invasive species control. Visit the Mississippi Valley Conservancy.
- The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation engages landowners in conservation projects to manage for birds and wildlife. Visit the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.
- The Driftless Area Initiative unites organizations and individuals to promote natural ecosystems, the economy, and the area’s cultural resources. Visit the Driftless Area Initiative.
- Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance works to improve the health of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers to reduce silt and nutrient loading into Lake Pepin. Visit the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance.