Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today celebrated International Migratory Bird Day by announcing nearly $3.9 million in federal grants to aid neotropical migratory bird conservation in the United States, Canada and 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide the grants to conservation partnerships in those countries. Partners will, in turn, match those funds with nearly $18 million that will be used to conduct research, monitoring, and management programs for migratory bird populations, as well as related outreach and education.
There are 341 species of Neotropical migratory birds that breed in the United States and Canada and winter in Latin America. Examples of these birds include species of plovers, terns, hawks, cranes, warblers and sparrows. Many of these birds are presently in decline, and several species are protected as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
"Migratory birds don't read maps, and their range extends far beyond our borders. Successful conservation relies on rangewide partnerships with other nations as well as states, tribes, conservation organizations and many others here at home," Kempthorne said. "What happens in Central and South America affects the birds that visit our backyards every spring and summer; these grants will support cooperative conservation projects and research throughout the hemisphere."
The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 2000 established the matching grants program to fund projects promoting the conservation of Neotropical migratory birds in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Appropriations began in 2002 and the money is to be used to protect, research, monitor and manage bird populations and habitat, as well as to conduct law enforcement and community outreach and education. By law, at least 75 percent of the money goes to projects in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada while the remaining 25 percent can go to projects in the United States.
Projects in the United States include:
Arkansas. Arkansas State University will receive nearly $29,000 and match this grant with $90,000 to study the factors that cause birds to collide with towers, information that will be useful in designing future towers.
Maine. The National Audubon Society will receive $100,000 and match this grant with $328,000 to manage and restore tern nesting habitat in coastal Maine.
Michigan. Michigan State University will receive nearly $15,000 and match this grant with more than $46,000 to study the effects of wind turbines on songbirds in forests.
New York. Audubon New York will receive nearly $23,000 and match this grant with more than $68,000 to conserve grassland birds in New York by working with farmers and private landowners.
Puerto Rico. The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico will receive $250,000 and match this grant with $750,000 to purchase and protect habitat near the Encantado River.
Tennessee. The Nature Conservancy will receive $100,000 and match this grant with nearly $3 million to manage birds such as the cerulean warbler, provide education programs and prepare its 4,000 acre property on the Cumberland Plateau to be transferred to the State of Tennessee.
Vermont. Audubon Vermont will receive nearly $99,000 and match this grant with more than $385,000 to work with private forest owners to enhance habitat for neotropical migratory birds.
Projects in Canada:
Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Canadian Wildlife Service will receive more than $46,000 and match this grant with more than $193,000 to study how prairie landscapes affects the distribution of neotropical migrants; this work will inform conservation planning for the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture.
Boreal Forest. The University of Alberta will receive $177,000 and match this grant with nearly $2 million to study the distribution and abundance of neotropical migratory birds, information that will inform forest management in this vast ecosystem.
Boreal Forest. Bird Studies Canada will receive nearly $84,000 and match this grant with more than $255,000 to monitor and assess population trends of neotropical migrants in previously inaccessible regions, so that migratory routes and vulnerable species may identified and better conserved.
Saskatchewan. The Nature Conservancy of Canada will receive more than $10,000 and match this grant with $44,000 to conserve habitat and purchase conservation easements on private land near Lake Alma.
International Projects that include the United States:
California and Mexico. The National Aviary will receive nearly $50,000 and match this grant with nearly $167,000 to study river habitat restoration and its impact on over wintering survival of neotropical birds.
Gulf Coast of United States, Mexico and Honduras. Gulf Coast Bird Observatory will receive nearly $136,000 and match this grant with nearly $408,000 to acquire island stopover habitat and monitor species where information is lacking.
Colorado and Mexico. The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory will receive more than $168,000 and match this grant with more than $1 million to purchase grassland habitat in Colorado and Mexico and monitor grassland species.
United States, Canada and Mexico. Hawk Migration Association of North America will receive more than $83,000 and match this grant with $256,000 (for a research project) to consolidate raptor data into one central repository that can be used for conservation and management.
To learn more about the projects listed above plus the 20 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, please see http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NMBCA/2007.shtm.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 547 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.