NASA to cooperate in Va. bird study

June 7, 2012 at 5:59 PM
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OYSTER, Va., June 7 (UPI) -- NASA says it is joining with The Nature Conservancy in a study of global rainfall and its effects on migratory bird habitats on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The conservancy is providing access to NASA at the Virginia Coast Reserve near Oyster, Va., to place weather radar, rain gauges and other instruments that will support the agency's Global Precipitation Measurement mission.

In return, NASA will support migratory bird studies by The Nature Conservancy using the weather radar, the space agency said Thursday.

The GPM mission is an international network of satellites providing global space-based observations of rain and snow.

Its ground-based radar in Virginia offers a unique surveillance opportunity for improved bird identification and observation, Conservancy officials said.

"This five-year collaborative project with NASA will help the conservancy and our partners further identify what habitats migratory birds are utilizing for fall stopovers along the lower Delmarva Peninsula and the conservation status of these lands," conservancy scientists Barry Truitt said.

"This agreement builds on the conservancy's 40-plus years of research, restoration and protection on the Eastern Shore of Virginia."

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