Richard Johnston

Estuaries of the future: opportunities for habitat improvement for shorebirds and communities in the North Coast of Nariño, Colombia

Location of the project: Nariño, Colombia
Sector: Science
Highest Degree earned: Ph.D. in Biology (Candidate)
Type of the project: Research

Richard is a PhD candidate in the at Simon Fraser University, Canada and a researcher at Asociacion Calidris, a non-profit organization in Colombia. His goal is to continue contributing to restore shorebird populations and secure mechanisms for long lasting conservation partnerships in the Americas.

The northern coast of the department of Nariño, Colombia is one of the largest areas of importance for shorebirds in the Neotropical region of the Pacific Migratory Flyway. However, there is no sufficient information on the natural patterns in the area and on the effects that hydraulic modification and climate change cause on the shorebird habitats and the coastal resources that local people depend on.

Richard strongly believes that there is a need to create more bridges between science and applied conservation, and sees the Coastal Solutions Program as the best opportunity to achieve this. For the project, Richard is aiming to bring together research centers, grassroots organizations, and recognized experts in the areas of geoscience, ecology and planning to offer the best available knowledge for participatory conservation and climate risk management in the North Coast of Nariño. First, he we will review the evidence on coastal dynamics, to understand its relationship with natural patterns (meteorological and oceanographic) and human modifications (hydraulic changes). Then, he will combine the most advanced methods of coastal modeling and the distribution of species to estimate the vulnerability of coastal habitats to climate risk. Together with conservation actors and local organizations, he plans to use these products to understand the effect of coastal dynamics on important resources for shorebirds and local communities on the north coast of Nariño, Colombia.

Coastal Solutions Fellowship Program

The Coastal Solutions Fellows Program builds and supports an international community to design and implement solutions that address coastal challenges across the Pacific Americas Flyway. Our main goal is to conserve coastal habitats and shorebird populations by building the knowledge, resources, and skills of Latin American professionals, and by fostering collaborations among multiple disciplines and sectors.