Wading birds occupy wetland habitats that are often heavily used by humans. For some people, wetlands directly provide them with a living. Sustaining wetlands and their ecological functions for the benefit of humans and wading birds is an ongoing concern of many conservation organizations. The ecological value of wetlands is now well established worldwide but drainage and pollution continue to be major issues. Among the major initiatives aimed at conserving wetland habitats and their birds include the ‘Ramsar’ Convention and the Important Bird Areas program.
At the 1995 meeting in Victoria, Canada, the Waterbird Society held a workshop that highlighted the need for coordinated conservation planning of wading birds. In the Americas, wading bird conservation took a big step forward in 2002 with the publication of the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas. Through an independent, international, broad-based, and voluntary partnership, work by individuals and institutions having interest and responsibility for conservation of waterbirds and their habitats in the Americas were linked together. The vision of Waterbird Conservation for the Americas is that the “distribution, diversity, and abundance of populations and habitats of breeding, migratory, and nonbreeding waterbirds are sustained or restored throughout the lands and waters of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.”