Audubon New York today announced the designation of Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve in Seneca Falls as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The Important Bird Area program is an international bird conservation initiative with the significant goal of identifying the most important places for birds and conserving them. IBAs are identified according to standardized, scientific criteria through a collaborative effort among state, national, and international non-governmental conservation organizations, state and federal government agencies, local conservation groups, academics, grassroots environmentalists, and birders.
With 1,100 acres of preserved land, Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve is managed by Seneca Meadows, Inc. and is permanently protected through a conservation easement. The Preserve is teeming with countless species of wildlife and provides vital habitat, food, and water sources that many bird species depend upon to successfully raise young during the spring and summer and for survival in the cold winter months. With diverse wetlands and grasslands, the Preserve is free of non-native or invasive plant species, supports an exemplary range of upland savanna and tall grass prairie and includes 7 miles of hiking, walking and biking trails for observing wildlife. The Preserve met the IBA criterion for at-risk species because of the number of breeding Pied-billed Grebe and American and Least Bitterns and wintering Short-eared Owls. Additional wetland species supported at the Preserve include Common Gallinule, Wilson’s Snipe, Marsh Wren, and Wood Duck. The site also supports a suite of representative grassland birds in addition to the Short-eared Owl, including Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, and Northern Harrier.
“The IBA program is critical to achieving bird conservation. At its most basic level, identifying an IBA is about determining the most important places for bird species vulnerable to habitat loss,” said Audubon New York Executive Director Erin Crotty. “Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve offers 1,100 acres of wetlands and grasslands that provide vital habitat, food and water resources that breeding, migrating and overwintering birds depend upon for survival.”
“We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with Audubon New York, in environmental education and conservation, for several years now. Seneca Meadows is honored that our wetlands preserve has been designated as an IBA, and we look forward to this new facet of our relationship with Audubon,” said Don Gentilcore, Seneca Meadows Area Manager.
Crotty continues, “The IBA program guides us to identify habitat strongholds that will become critically important as we learn more about the impacts climate change will have on birds. Audubon recently reported that nearly half of North America’s birds could be negatively impacted by the effects of climate change, leaving them with an uncertain future. These bird species include Bobolink, American Black Duck and Common Merganser -- all of which rely on Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve for habitat. We’re grateful to Seneca Meadows for their efforts in actively managing this habitat and we’re proud to partner with them on this designation.”
New York’s IBA program began in 1996, and since then Audubon New York has designated additional sites as IBAs and evaluated existing IBAs to ensure they continue to meet the IBA criteria. New York’s network of IBAs has evolved over the years as more bird and habitat data have been collected, and the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve is now the newest site to have been identified in New York.
For more information on the Important Bird Area Program, visit the Audubon New York site at www.NY.Audubon.org
About Audubon: With 50,000 members throughout the state, Audubon New York is dedicated to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. The national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. For more information about Audubon New York visit: ny.audubon.org
About Seneca Meadows: Seneca Meadows, Inc. is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of the environment. Since its inception in 1983, they have been recognized for their exemplary compliance record and numerous environmental initiatives with such honors as the 2003 Seneca County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award, the 2009 Rochester Business Journal’s Environmental Leadership Award and the 2012 SWANA Excellence Award for landfill management. For more information on Seneca Meadows, visit: http://senecameadows.com/