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The Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme is changing

News Item 2022

The Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) is changing. Today, JNCC and NatureScot have formed a partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to take forward this important survey scheme that monitors selected goose and migratory swan populations during the non-breeding season. This new partnership secures the future of this vital programme and offers the opportunity to strengthen existing links with WeBS, which has been organised by BTO for many years, ensuring that all information on wintering waterbirds will be easily accessible in one place.

The GSMP focuses on our internationally important wintering goose and swan populations, all of which are Red or Amber-listed species in the latest Birds of Conservation Concern assessment. For many of these goose and swan populations, the majority of the entire world population relies on UK wetlands during the non-breeding season. The results enable us to assess the status of geese and swans wintering in the UK and inform conservation action both in the UK and internationally.

The scheme will benefit from BTO's expertise on running bird monitoring projects, providing increased opportunity to develop the scheme and to grow the network of volunteer and professional surveyors that the GSMP relies on. This will secure the continued collection of data to calculate population estimates and trends at UK, country and site level, as well as provide data and information about the demographic factors driving those trends.

The GSMP was successfully run for 20 years in partnership between Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), JNCC and NatureScot, developing it into the important monitoring scheme it is today. This change in the partnership was prompted by the decision by WWT to step down from national monitoring programmes and to concentrate its conservation activity for waterbirds and their wetland habitats in other areas. WWT remains fully supportive of the important work of the GSMP.

The next winter’s field season is rapidly approaching, and so we are inviting any existing and new goose and swan surveyors to register their interest with BTO by completing a short form.

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