A framework for a sampling plan for monitoring marshbird populations in the contiguous 48 states is proposed here. The sampling universe is the breeding habitat (i.e. wetlands) potentially used by marshbirds. Selection protocols would be implemented within each of large geographical strata, such as Bird Conservation Regions. Site selection will be done using a two-stage cluster sample. Primary sampling units (PSUs) would be land areas, such as legal townships, and would be selected by a procedure such as systematic sampling. Secondary sampling units (SSUs) will be wetlands or portions of wetlands in the PSUs. SSUs will be selected by a randomized spatially balanced procedure. For analysis, the use of a variety of methods as a means of increasing confidence in conclusions that may be reached is encouraged. Additional effort will be required to work out details and implement the plan.