The Department of Defense (DoD) Partners in Flight (PIF) program consists of a cooperative network of natural resources personnel from military installations across the United States. Established in 1991, DoD PIF works collaboratively with partners throughout the Americas to conserve migratory and resident birds and their habitats on DoD lands.
DoD PIF sustains and enhances the military mission through proactive, habitat-based conservation and management strategies that maintain healthy landscapes and training lands. DoD PIF works beyond installation boundaries to facilitate cooperative partnerships, determine the current status of bird populations, and prevent the listing of additional birds as threatened or endangered. DoD PIF provides a scientific basis for maximizing the effectiveness of resource management, enhancing the biological integrity of DoD lands, and ensuring continued use of these lands to fulfill military training requirements. Participating in partnerships, such as PIF, also helps DoD to more effectively meet its trust responsibility to conserve our nation’s biodiversity.
Specifically, DoD PIF facilitates the development of cooperative agreements for implementing bird conservation programs and projects on military lands, facilitates communication and information sharing across geographic and political boundaries, participates and provides leadership in PIF committees and working groups, and provides military natural resources professionals with the most up-to-date information on bird conservation.
The key components to DoD PIF’s work are its partnerships at local, state, regional, national and international levels, as well as its leadership in implementing ecosystem-based bird conservation planning, installation and regional Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMPs), the DoD Coordinated Bird Monitoring Plan, North American Bird Conservation Initiative projects, management of DoD’s Important Bird Areas program, and the Bird/Animal Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Program.
The DoD PIF Strategic Plan identifies actions that support and enhance the military mission while also working to secure bird populations. Goals and priorities are identified in eight key areas: stewardship, partnerships/cooperation, communications, habitat and species management, BASH, monitoring, research, and information and education. The Plan offers a coordinated framework for incorporating bird habitat management efforts into installation INRMPs.
DoD’s bird conservation strategy focuses on inventory, on-the-ground management, education, and long-term monitoring to determine changes in bird populations on DoD installations. Regional and Technical Working Groups pursue additional priorities, and a series of fact sheets identifies emerging programmatic priorities. The species of concern database helps identify priority bird species on every military installation. An annual planning workshop of the DoD PIF Representatives provides guidance to fact sheet development and ongoing bird conservation priorities for DoD.