A group of wildlife researchers will meet with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September to discuss a conservation plan for the saltmarsh sparrow.

Researchers with a group of universities have been tracking the little birds and say eight out of every 10 of the sparrows has disappeared in the last 15 years.

The sparrows live in coastal areas from Maine to Virginia during breeding season. University of Maine professor Brian Olsen says coastal construction and sea-level rise have hurt their populations.

Olsen says the meeting with the wildlife service will include biologists from more than a dozen states.

The service asked Olsen and other researchers to put together information about the sparrow so it can make a determination about whether it should be considered for protection.

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