Thursday, July 09, 2009

EPW Passes Revised Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act

The Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee has passed a bill to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act at higher funding levels.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has passed S. 690, which reauthorizes the existing Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) at significantly higher levels to meet the growing needs of our migrant birds, many of which are in rapid decline. Senate Environment and Public Works Ranking Member, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a frequent critic of providing more government funding for conservation programs raised an objection to the higher authorization levels in the bill. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Michael Crapo (R-ID), now moves to debate in the full Senate. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) has introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives....

NMBCA supports partnership programs to conserve 341 species of migratory birds in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean, where approximately five billion birds of over 500 species, including some of the most endangered birds in North America, spend their winters. Projects include habitat restoration, research and monitoring, law enforcement, and outreach and education. Between 2002 and 2008, the program supported 260 projects coordinated by partners in 48 U.S. states/territories and 36 countries. Projects involving land conservation have affected approximately three million acres of bird habitat.
This bill would increase funding for the program from $6 million to $20 million. Projects receiving federal money must raise $3 in private money for every federal dollar they receive. In the past, many qualifying projects have gone unfunded because the federal matching grants program had run out of funds.

If you have not done so already, please consider contacting your representatives (here or here) and ask that they support this worthy program.