Joyce Introduces Legislation to Protect Migratory Birds

Jul 05, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Representatives Dave Joyce (R-OH), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Mary Peltola (D-AK) recently introduced the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act of 2023. 

The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program provides competitive grants for habitat conservation, research and monitoring, and community outreach and education. The Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act of 2023 reauthorizes this program for the next 5 years.  

“Ohio is a haven for bird watchers, especially along Lake Erie. Birdwatching in Ohio attracts more than 120,000 visitors each year and contributes more than $20 million to local economies,” said Rep. Joyce, Co-Chair of the International Conservation Caucus. “Reauthorizing the successful Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program will continue to conserve bird habitats and support healthy bird populations, which are critical to our outdoor recreation economy.”

“South Florida’s birds are a vital and necessary part of our ecosystem,” said Rep. Salazar. “Neotropical birds that span the Americas are not only unique but are critical to pollinating many plant species in our forests and wetlands, including the Everglades. This legislation ensures those birds are protected.”

“Pesticide pollution, deforestation and invasive species threaten the more than 350 migratory bird species that rely on the Pacific Northwest as their flyaway,” said Rep. Larsen. “This bipartisan bill will help protect these diverse bird populations and their habitats in the Pacific Northwest and across the Western Hemisphere.”

“Alaska’s migratory birds are an important part of our state’s beauty and biodiversity,” said Rep. Peltola. “Don Young knew this when he sponsored the original Neotropical Migratory Bird Habitat Enhancement Act in 1998, and this bill will continue his legacy of protecting Alaskan wildlife by reauthorizing this unique program. I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort to protect a diverse set of bird species and the critical roles they play in our ecosystem.”

“With migratory birds in need of greater conservation efforts, we greatly appreciate the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Salazar, Larsen, Joyce, and Peltola,” said Steve Holmer of American Bird Conservancy. “The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation is essential for conserving migratory birds on their wintering grounds where most migratory bird species spend the majority of the year. By increasing NMBCA funding, opening the door to greater participation from partner groups, and allowing larger projects, the program can be much more effective at meeting bird conservation needs.”

“We have lost three billion birds in North America alone since 1970, and to stem the tide of further devastating losses of migratory birds, we need to invest in protecting their habitats across the Western Hemisphere,”said Felice Stadler, vice president of government affairs, National Audubon Society. “The Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act is a straightforward and cost-effective way for the United States to build partnerships throughout the hemisphere to protect birds wherever they fly. We are excited to see bipartisan support for enhancing this important program and look forward to working to advance this legislation.”

BACKGROUND:

Ohio offers some of the best bird watching and birding opportunities in the country, especially along the Lake Erie shoreline. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, there are an estimated 3.2 million wildlife-watchers in Ohio, and bird enthusiasts comprise an estimated 1.6 million of this total. Each year about 120,000 out-of-state-birders visit Ohio, with Lake Erie the most popular destination. Estimates have also shown that birders visiting Ohio contributed more than $26 million to local economies. 

Since 2002, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program has provided nearly $75 million in grants to support 628 projects in 36 countries. These projects have positively affected approximately 5 million acres of bird habitat and spurred partnerships on multiple levels contributing an additional $286 million.

Read the full text of the bill here.

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