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Eastern Kingbird by Mike Benkis

President’s Letter: Audubon Society of Omaha celebrates passage of bipartisan bill supporting migratory birds

Artwork of Western meadowlark by Lennon M., 4th grade.

In a significant step toward protecting migratory bird populations, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bipartisan bill aimed at reauthorizing and enhancing funding for partnerships benefiting migratory birds and their habitats. This crucial legislation, known as the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act, comes at a time when migratory birds are facing alarming population declines due to habitat loss and climate change threats.

Spearheaded by Representatives María Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and Mary Peltola (D-AK), the bill received widespread support and was passed by voice vote. A similar version of the bill has also been introduced in the Senate, co-sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).

Marshall Johnson, the chief conservation officer at the National Audubon Society, emphasized the critical importance of this legislation in addressing the challenges faced by migratory birds. “We have lost three billion birds since 1970 – a staggering number – and this legislation is critically important to help communities and partners meet the challenges of the moment so we can conserve migratory birds for years to come,” said Johnson. He highlighted the economic significance of birdwatching, with 96 million Americans engaged in the activity, contributing $100 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

The Audubon Society of Omaha commends the House and the bill’s co-sponsors for their leadership in advancing this vital legislation and urges swift passage of the companion bill in the Senate.

Since its inception in 2002, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) has played a pivotal role in funding over 700 projects in 35 countries across the Western Hemisphere. These projects have benefited more than 5 million acres of habitat crucial for over 350 species of migratory birds that journey between the U.S. and Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Examples of the NMBCA’s impact include conserving key forested landscapes for Cerulean Warblers from the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia to the Andes Mountains in Colombia, improving grassland habitat for Bobolinks on working lands spanning from New York to Argentina, and supporting shorebirds such as Hudsonian Godwits along their migration routes from Alaska to Chile.

The Audubon Society of Omaha applauds the ongoing efforts to safeguard migratory birds and their habitats and looks forward to continued collaboration in conservation initiatives across the Americas.

Partners in Conservation