Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory


The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership has hired Bradley M. Steger as its Important Bird Areas coordinator.

In this role, Steger will follow through on work that WBCP had partnered with Tom Prestby (Wisconsin Conservation Manager and Observatory Board member),  and GEI Consultants to assess the 93 IBAs in Wisconsin to determine strengths and weaknesses of each IBA’s bird conservation potential and identify those with high potential for accelerated, strategic conservation delivery. Factors relating to bird usage, landscape and climate change resilience and social capacity and support were analyzed with data from eBird, GIS-based landscape-level data, and a comprehensive survey that was distributed to contacts associated with each IBA.

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory has taken special interest in two Important Bird Areas along the shore of Lake Michigan and is exploring pilot projects to strengthen them. The Observatory also serves as the fiduciary for WBCP, further supporting this important work.  

Steger brings 30 plus years of professional skills from the private sector, focused on coordinating and managing delivery of complex projects for a variety of companies, along with a passion for birds. Before moving back to Wisconsin, he served on the board of the Colorado Field Ornithologists and coordinated an area for the 2nd Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas. Steger also has experience writing proposals and has assisted in writing grants.  

In applying for the position, Steger said: “I would love to have the opportunity to help Wisconsin protect and preserve some of the last remaining critical habitat for many of the rapidly declining bird species that call Wisconsin home.” He emphasized the importance of building long-term sustainability into the IBA plans that we develop.  

The WBCP Steering Committee, including representatives from the Observatory, created the IBA coordinator position to collaborate with partners to help ensure that IBA designations continue to play a meaningful role in bird conservation by protecting and enhancing valuable bird habitat. The coordinator will work with IBA stakeholders and partners (such as the DNR, land trusts, land managers, bird clubs, scientific organizations, like the Observatory, etc.) in tailored approaches to build conservation strategies that are the best fit for each unique priority IBA.  

The IBA program is an international effort, with a global network of more than 12,000 IBAs identified in 200 countries, that exists to identify and encourage voluntary protection of critical habitat for birds throughout their annual lifecycle — breeding, migration, wintering.