Conservation Groups and Citizens Tell Congress: 'We Stand Together for Birds'
(Washington, D.C., February 27, 2017) As Congress and the Administration consider major policy changes affecting birds and public lands, hundreds of conservation groups, birdwatching clubs, and wildlife rehabilitators, along with tens of thousands of individual citizens, have endorsed a Together for Birds petition asking lawmakers to continue advancing bird conservation. The petition and endorsements were delivered to Trump administration officials and congressional leaders today.
“The American people love birds, and the current administration and 115th Congress have an opportunity to make a real difference to reverse current population declines, restore habitats, and put in place smart policies to balance conservation with development on public lands,” said Steve Holmer, vice president of policy for American Bird Conservancy. “Although the environment was not a major issue in the recent election, decisions made by the new Administration and Congress could have far-reaching impacts on birds and their habitats.”
The petition, endorsed by 424 organizations and signed by more than 24,000 individuals, supports maintaining the agencies, laws, and programs that are making the greatest difference for birds. The Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act, federal funding for bird conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the sustainable management of public lands are all crucial for birds.
“We believe that appreciation of birds represents a core American value and that bird conservation should be a non-partisan issue,” said Ken Rosenberg, Applied Conservation Scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Our collaborative State of the Birds reports document declines in 37 percent of migratory bird species, with serious loss among grassland birds and seabirds—but we have also demonstrated that conservation works, and that these declines can be halted and reversed."
The text of the petition follows.
Together for Birds Petition
Dear President Trump, U.S. Senators, and Representatives,
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, represent a broad cross-section of the bird conservation community. We aim to build a dialogue with the new Administration and Congress to promote the conservation of birds and their habitats, which are of fundamental value to the American people.
More than 60 million Americans care deeply about birds, and bird-related recreation contributes more than $36 billion to our economy. Birds also act as the "canary in the coal mine" for our environment and provide valuable benefits to society, from pollination to pest control. But birds are in trouble, with many declining in population or facing extinction.
We endorse the following priorities to ensure that birds and their habitats continue to be effectively conserved for the benefit of all Americans. We ask that you please support:
- THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: Protect the Act that has helped recover our national bird, the Bald Eagle, and other species in trouble.
- THE MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY ACT: Safeguard the only law that exists to protect most American birds, and support the federal Duck Stamp, one of the nation's most successful conservation programs.
- FEDERAL FUNDING FOR BIRDS: Maintain and grow essential sources of federal support for migratory bird conservation.
- THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Ensure that the EPA can continue its vital work to protect people and birds from dangerous pesticides and other toxins.
- LAND MANAGEMENT FOR BIRDS AND PEOPLE: Ensure that public lands remain public, are properly managed for wildlife, and that recreational access is maintained.
We also acknowledge that many other national and state initiatives are of critical importance to birds, and that citizens and private enterprise can play vital roles in these conservation efforts.
Let's work together for birds!
American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.