DOI and USDA Highlight Successes of Protecting Bird Habitat on Private Lands


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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands. A collaborative effort as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, involving federal and state wildlife agencies and scientific and conservation organizations, the report shows how private land conservation incentives positively impact bird habitat.

“Our nation’s most effective conservation efforts are partnerships in which federal, state and local governments work hand-in-hand with private landowners and other stakeholders,” said Secretary Jewell. “The programs highlighted in this report help build these voluntary partnerships to conserve the vital habitat of our many bird species. Many of these partnerships provide direct benefits to people such as improving water quality and supporting jobs and economic growth.”

Individuals, families, organizations and corporations, including two million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners own and manage 1.43 billion acres, roughly 60 percent of the land area of the United States. Private lands are used by virtually all of the terrestrial and coastal birds of the United States, 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered or of conservation concern. Many privately owned working lands that produce a bounty of food, timber, and other resources for society also provide valuable habitat for birds.

“Sixty percent of U.S. land is in private hands, making the efforts of farmers, ranchers and landowners critical when it comes to creating, restoring and protecting bird habitat,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Today’s report highlights the positive impact of voluntary conservation measures for birds, including those made possible by Farm Bill programs. The need for a long-term commitment to conservation is just one more good reason why we need Congressional passage of a multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.”

The State of the Bird Report on Private Lands shows that private lands have critical conservation value, and that landowners and managers can measure their yield not only in bushels and head and cords, but also in bluebirds, hawks and canvasbacks.

The success stories highlighted in this report demonstrate that these voluntary efforts on private lands are resulting in meaningful bird conservation results:

The full 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands is available here. For more information about USDA’s many conservation programs visit

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