Protocols, Data Management, and Field Forms

The IWMM National Protocol Framework (Current)
The National Protocol Framework for the Inventory and Monitoring of Non-Breeding Waterbirds and their Habitats was created specifically to guide the development of site-specific protocols at stations within the National Wildlife Refuge System. This framework provides a complete but flexible treatment of key protocol elements applicable to the rapid assessment of habitat conditions and waterbird use during the non-breeding period. The framework includes all of the SOPs describing the IWMM survey protocol, and provides the necessary guidance for developing complete, site-specific protocols (e.g., survey objectives, sampling design, data analysis, reporting). All partners interested in developing a site-specific protocol employing the IWMM approach are encouraged to use this framework as a foundation. Version 2.0 is now available! Servcat users click HERE.

The IWMM Monitoring Manual (Current)
The IWMM Monitoring Manual explicitly describes the techniques required (i.e., standard operating procedures) to implement surveys and is intended for use by anyone conducting IWMM surveys. Methods and techniques developed from the original Monitoring Manual have been incorporated into the current National Protocol Framework, and both have received recent updates (2020).

IWMM Monitoring Protocol (Historic)
The original IWMM monitoring protocol enabled managers to rapidly assess habitat conditions and waterbird use at wetlands during non-breeding periods, and to simultaneously track annual management actions. Protocols were developed during an extensive pilot phase in which methods could be tested through validation studies, revised, and improved. Participants collecting data under the initial protocol (beginning Fall 2010) were transitioned to the revised protocol during fall of 2015.

Data Management: The IWMM-AKN Partnership

IWMM’s goal is to provide decision support tools that will enable multi-scaled waterbird habitat management decisions to be made in a structured, transparent, and defensible fashion. A key element of this process is a shared, online database that stores, manages, and reports waterbird, habitat, and management action data for participating projects across the country.

To this end, IWMM has created an online data management system as a thematic node of the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN). An IWMM-AKN partnership is beneficial because the AKN provides a common platform for different organizations across the US to store, share, and access data, improving awareness and use at multiple scales. As a node of the AKN, the IWMM database supports managers and partnerships by enabling users to maintain scientific data on a secure site, organize data for a greater range of analysis opportunities, generate reports to inform decisions, and share data and technology that can lead to cost efficiencies.

In fall 2015, the IWMM-AKN node became available for online entry of data collected with the newly revised monitoring protocols. In 2016, reporting and downloading tools for IWMM were launched. Data collected under the pilot protocol (fall 2010-spring 2015) are also stored in this database and may be available for download.

Field forms are provided to promote data quality and consistency across survey events:

Supplemental Resources for IWMM:

  • Links for species lists for birds we monitor and plants for which we calculate SPI. Common names for birds based on the 58th Supplement to the AOU North American checklist. SPI-Plant species names based on USDA plants database.
  • Dead Bird Observations – If you observe dead birds during surveys, follow the instructions for reporting, collecting, and submitting individuals to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.