Companion Bill to Improve Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Introduced in House

A companion bill just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would provide increased federal funding to conserve migratory bird habitats across the Americas.
Red Knots flock in flight. Photo by Larry Master.

In good news for migratory birds, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL) have introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), one of the nation's most important bird conservation laws.

The bill, called the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act, would provide a four-fold increase in funding to help conserve species like the Baltimore Oriole, Red Knot, Wood Thrush, and other migratory birds, many of which are in rapid decline. It is a companion to a similar bill introduced in the Senate in May of this year by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

“Birds are a vital part of our South Florida ecosystem and must be actively protected,” 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.”

"Given the threat of habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species, we must do everything we can to support and protect migratory birds for the next generation of Americans,”  said Rep. Ron Kind. “The Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act would invest in wildlife and habitat conservation efforts, bolster our outdoor economy, and protect our environmental heritage all while addressing the urgent conservation needs for these species.”

“The NMBCA provides essential support to Latin American and Caribbean partners who ensure migratory birds have a place to return in winter after breeding in the U.S. — such as the Cerulean Warbler and Wood Thrush,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy at American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “By increasing NMBCA funding, the door is opened to greater participation from partner groups, as well as larger projects that are more effective at meeting bird conservation needs.”

“Migratory birds provide tremendous value to millions of Americans,” said Jennifer Cipolletti, ABC's Director of Conservation Advocacy. “We thank Rep. Kind and Salazar for their leadership on the bipartisan Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act to help reverse the loss of nearly 3 billion birds.”

A landmark 2019 study by ABC and partners found that nearly 3 billion birds have been lost in the U.S. and Canada since 1970. The NMBCA has helped conserve 400 species, including some of the most endangered birds in North America. 

“Effective conservation projects like those supported by the NMBCA can help us turn these losses around,” said Dan Lebbin, ABC's Vice President of Threatened Species. “The NMBCA provides a lifeline for bird conservation, encouraging habitat protection, education, research, monitoring, and other work to provide for the long-term protection of Neotropical migratory birds. A diverse range of species, from songbirds to raptors, benefit from the Act.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receives many more requests for high-quality conservation projects under the NMBCA than it can fund at current maximum authorization levels, set by Congress at $5 million this year. Under the new version of the law, that amount could increase to $20 million. 

The NMBCA grant program has been a catalyst for bird conservation and partnership development throughout the Western Hemisphere, actively promoting the long-term conservation of Neotropical migratory birds and their habitats. Since 2002, the NMBCA has supported more than 500 conservation projects in 36 countries, on more than 4.2 million acres of critical bird habitat.

“The NMBCA is the only federal U.S. grant program specifically dedicated to the conservation of migratory birds throughout the Americas,” Lebbin said. “Advances in conservation for many declining species, such as the Cerulean, Canada, and Golden-Winged Warblers, owe a great deal to the NMBCA.”

Any U.S. citizens who want to show their support for the NMBCA this migration season can reach out to their U.S. representatives via ABC's NMBCA action alert.

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild 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.orgFacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).


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