The Scarlet Tanager is just one of 386 migratory bird species that will benefit from passage of the Natural Resources Management Act. Photo by Dan Behm
(Washington, DC, February 25, 2019) Passage of the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), expected tomorrow in the U.S. House of Representatives, will signify a bipartisan win for birds and people, and a step in the right direction toward advancing wildlife conservation and recreation initiatives. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 98-2.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) strongly believes that passing this bill is essential to achieving our nation’s conservation goals, which support our environment and our economy, through bird-related recreation totaling billions of dollars annually.
The bill includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which supports the protection of federal public lands and waters. It also designates wilderness areas, monuments, and other public lands that will help conserve habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Birds will also benefit from the bill’s reauthorization of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), which provides direct conservation support for 386 bird species and their habitats in Central and South America, where many birds winter. The Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, and Cerulean Warbler are just a few examples of bird species that benefit from the NMBCA.
“Thanks to NMBCA funding, we have created a network of reserves to provide essential wintering habitat,” said Andrew Rothman, ABC’s Migratory Bird Program Director. “The NMBCA is one of very few sources of funding available to help protect the full life cycle of migratory birds in the Western Hemisphere. These species engage in one of the greatest animal migrations on the planet. NMBCA is the lifeline for our migratory birds.”
Since 2002, the NMBCA has supported 570 conservation projects — including habitat protection, monitoring, research, and education — on more than 4.5 million acres of critical bird habitat across 36 countries.
The 2016 State of the Birds Report found that over one-third of North America’s bird species are in decline or facing serious threats.
“This decline signals a broader crisis that Congress has now, through its support of the Natural Resources Management Act, acted upon to help reverse,” said Jennifer Cipolletti, Director of Conservation Advocacy for ABC. “Birds are sensitive indicators of how we are protecting our environment as a whole, so this is an important step and a big win, not only for birds, but for the economy as well.”
American Bird Conservancy applauds the broad bipartisan support for public lands and migratory birds in Congress and across a diverse coalition of conservation and recreation interests. Thanks to this support, the Natural Resources Management Act will preserve vital conservation funding for the country’s birds and the critical habitats they depend upon.
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@abcbirds).
Executive Order Puts Natural Resources and Local Economies at Risk
(Washington, D.C., April 26, 2017) President Trump signed an Executive Order today calling for the Interior Department to review National Monument designations exceeding 100,000 acres since 1996, with an eye toward reducing or eliminating areas that were protected for their historic, cultural, and environmental importance.
“This Executive Order has the potential to undermine one of the nation’s most important conservation tools—one that has benefited endangered birds such as the Northern Spotted Owl and provided habitat essential for their recovery,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy for American Bird Conservancy. “It’s a troubling reversal of the conservation ethic established by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, when he signed the Antiquities Act to safeguard and preserve federal lands and cultural and historical sites for all Americans to enjoy.”
Across the United States, National Monuments make a crucial difference for wildlife. For instance, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the only monument created specifically to conserve biodiversity, provides habitat for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl. The monument also creates an important habitat linkage for the species by protecting a ridge that connects the Coast Range with the Cascade Range. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, established by President George W. Bush in 2006, protects the land and waters of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and is home to 99 percent of the world's breeding population of Laysan Albatross, as well as critically endangered Laysan Duck, Nihoa Finch, and Nihoa Millerbird.
“This review process is a step in the wrong direction,” Holmer said. “It threatens endangered birds and diminishes the natural heritage of future generations of Americans."
The Executive Order also threatens to undermine a sustainable economic engine. Outdoor recreation alone generated $887 billion and supported 7.6 million jobs last year. In 2016, national parks saw a record 331 million visits, contributing almost $35 billion to the U.S. economy. Regions surrounding national monuments have seen continued growth or improvement in employment and personal income, and rural counties in the West with more federal lands have healthier economies, on average, than similar communities with fewer protected lands.
(Photo: National Monuments protect crucial habitat for threatened birds, including Northern Spotted Owl, and many other species. Photo by All Canada Photos.)
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.
Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land
By Steven I. Apfelbaum and Alan Haney
In the Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series, authors Steven I. Apfelbaum and Dr. Alan Haney educate readers on the considerable benefits of land restoration and show them how to restore an ecosystem to its natural state.
The first book, Restoring Ecological Health to your Land, introduces the process and importance of ecological restoration using specific examples from the authors’ experience. The first several chapters offer ten steps to improving land health for any property. The final chapters apply the process to restoration projects of specific ecosystems, including grasslands, forests, wetlands, streams, and deserts.
The Restoring Ecological Health to your Land Workbook expands on the first book, with a chapter dedicated to each of the ten restoration steps. It picks up where the first left off, focusing on what can be done and how to do it. Readers are shown how to examine the natural features of a property, develop restoration plans, estimate project costs, determine necessary equipment, and more.
Both books are appropriate for people from all walks of life and all levels of experience—from landowners to patio gardeners to land trust property stewards and agency personnel responsible for restoring lands in their care. The authors avoid jargon and break down each concept for readers with minimal ecological training, while at the same time offering suggestions that even those with considerable experience will value.
An informative and easy read, the Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series shows readers how to:
· Appreciate and improve the value of a property’s ecological health
· Recognize natural processes and ecological trends occurring on the land
· Work with – rather than in opposition to – nature
· Perform simple tests to solve a property’s ecological problems
· Encourage key stakeholders and family members to take part in land restoration
“Restoration is a necessity, not a luxury, if we want to have a supply of food and clean drinking water and an earth rich with biodiversity,” says Apfelbaum. “Nature needs our help. The Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series provides a clear, step-by-step process to develop and implement effective restoration plans for a project of any scale.”
Steven I. Apfelbaum, M.S., is among the world’s most well known leaders in the fields of ecosystem restoration and conservation development. He founded Applied Ecological Services (AES), one of the largest ecological restoration companies in the world, with ten offices in the United States and two branches abroad. He is also the author of Nature’s Second Chance, a thirty-year, personal account of the restoration of his family’s Wisconsin dairy farm. Apfelbaum received the Aldo Leopold Foundations’ John T. Curtis Award for Career Excellence in Ecological Restoration in 2010.
Dr. Alan Haney holds a Master's Degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Ph.D. in forest ecology from the State University of New York at Syracuse. A leading ecologist, he has taught – and inspired – thousands of students at three different universities and worked with ecosystem restoration in theory as well as practice for more than 30 years.