The Reddish Egret Working Group first met in October 2005 to discuss the status of Reddish Egret populations in Texas, Mexico, and Florida. From there, it was decided a status assessment was necessary as the majority of information was at least a decade old (Paul 1991). The Status Assessment was completed in 2006 (Green 2006) and formed the basis for the guidance from the working group. To create the Conservation Action Plan, the Reddish Egret Working Group used the “Open Standards Approach for Conservation Measures” framework, which involved creating a range-wide conceptual conservation model for this species that highlights and ranks the greatest threats to maintaining population stability and expanding the population, explores the underlying causes of those threats, and identifies strategies to address them.
The first step in this process was to identify conservation targets—the global Reddish Egret population and its breeding and foraging habitats. After setting goals for these targets, the conceptual model was used to determine key strategies to reduce threats that serve as obstacles to achieving these goals. Selection of overarching conservation strategies allowed the working group to begin to develop a comprehensive plan of activities to address the most significant aspects of the conservation problem. These activities work together to reduce threats, increase population viability, increase conservation capacities (capacity-building) and capitalize on opportunities. Although this plan lists activities to address threats and proposes specific objectives to measure progress, it is not a business strategy—yet. Next steps include further refining activities,formulating objectives to measure success of all activities, assessing capacity and risk, and making this plan operational. It should be viewed as a milestone in an ongoing and evolving campaign by the Reddish Egret Working Group to restore and maintain Reddish Egret abundance and distribution throughout the range.
Nesting Habitat Goals
Interim Goal: Establish, maintain and increase habitat at focal colony sites, defined as the locations that should be priorities for collective conservation effort.
Anticipated Goal: A quantitative goal for focal colony sites.
Foraging Habitat Goals
Interim Goal: Identify and protect foraging areas
Anticipated Goal: A quantitative goal for focal foraging areas. The Working Group is committed to compiling and mapping information on known foraging areas and identifying potential, currently unknown areas.