The BirdsCaribbean Hurricane Relief Fund is accepting applications to help birds and habitats recover in the Caribbean. The overall objectives are to provide resources to advance the recovery and ongoing conservation of birds and their habitats on islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and to assist conservationists working on these islands regain capacity lost in the hurricane and necessary to undertake recovery and conservation projects. [Also see our previous post “With a little help from humans…”]
The islands of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding marine areas provide essential habitats for many migratory and resident birds, including endemics that occur nowhere else in the world. In September 2017, many islands in the eastern and central Caribbean were ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The impacts on human livelihoods, infrastructure, homes and businesses are being addressed to some extent by governments and the traditional relief agencies. The impacts on natural habitats, species, conservationists and conservation projects are harder to assess and quantify, but no less dire. Thanks to many generous donors to our Hurricane Relief Fund, BirdsCaribbean has established a fund to aid the recovery of birds and bird habitats by supporting conservationists and recovery projects on hurricane-affected islands. [. . .]
WHO MAY APPLY TO THE FUND: Grants from the fund are available to BirdsCaribbean members and partners or individuals/groups undertaking work on the islands seriously damaged by Irma and Maria: Dominica, Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Eustatius, St. Barts, St. Kitts, Saba, St Martin/Sint Maarten, British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Cuba. Applicants may be non-government organizations, government agencies, or private individuals, based on or off the islands in question.
PRIORITIES FOR THE FUND: Projects must contribute to the conservation of any Caribbean birds and their habitats affected by hurricanes. Preferred projects are those that will benefit threatened endemic species (island or regional), and local or regionally significant populations or species of conservation concern (migrants and/or residents). Activities that help in the recovery of Important Bird Areas, Key Biodiversity Areas, Ramsar sites, mangroves, or Protected Areas are also preferred. [. . .]
If you have questions about eligible activities or requests for assistance (e.g., advice on how best to carry out surveys and monitoring), please contact BirdsCaribbean Executive Director, Lisa Sorenson (Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org)
TYPES OF ACTIVITIES THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING [not in order of importance] Funding must be used for short-term activities that are directly related to assessment of or recovery from hurricane impacts, such as: assessment of impacts and identification of conservation needs for birds and their habitat post hurricanes, e.g., surveys, assessments, and monitoring of high-priority species and their habitats that may have been affected by the storms; implementation of conservation/recovery actions, e.g. habitat clean-ups, clearing of trails, and restoration or enhancement work, such as re-planting of mangroves and native trees lost in the storms; emergency support for vulnerable species, e.g., feeding programs for endemic parrots in damaged forests; provision of shortfalls to pre-existing projects that are facing issues as a result of hurricane damage, e.g., loss of materials, infrastructure or equipment; capacity restoration, e.g., office and field equipment which was lost or damaged in the storm, such as binoculars, scopes and tripods, computers, cameras, backpacks, GPS units, etc. or materials for community outreach and education; restoration of infrastructure that supports nature-based livelihoods damaged by the hurricane, e.g., repairs to boardwalks, blinds, etc., especially in parks and protected areas; implementation of outreach and education events that raise awareness about the impacts of storms and climate change on wildlife and ecosystems and how local people can help, e.g., promoting citizen science monitoring using eBirdCaribbean and iNaturalist (especially important in the wake of hurricanes), feeding birds to help them survive post-hurricane food shortages, planting native trees that are beneficial to wildlife, promoting recycling, planting of native trees, and energy conservation, advocacy for properly-planned post-hurricane development, etc.; and other. [. . .]
[Photo above by Paul Reillo: Blue-headed Hummingbird, endemic to Dominica and Martinique. Very few individuals have been seen since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica.]