Press Room

How Birds Would Fare Under the White House Budget and Infrastructure Proposals

Birds and people need smart investment in our environment to keep our communities safe, air and water clean and our climate habitable.

WASHINGTON — “Last year’s White House budget proposal failed to invest in American’s most cherished places as well as the clean air and water birds and people need—and it was largely rejected. It’s time to align the budget with our values and find real solutions to the challenges facing birds and the American people,” said Sarah Greenberger, Audubon’s senior vice president of conservation policy, in response to the latest federal budget proposal from the White House.

“Millions of birders, hunters and outdoor lovers—from all political backgrounds—rely on bedrock environmental protections and strong federal investment to protect the cherished natural resources that the White House’s budget and infrastructure proposals put at risk.

“The good news is that Congress can still deliver a federal budget and infrastructure plan that’s a win-win for people and birds.”

Smart infrastructure investments help communities throughout the nation address 21st century challenges and support for nature-based solutions can protect and sustain communities while providing important habitat for birds and other wildlife. Advancing infrastructure at the expense of clean air, clean water, and healthy fish, bird and other wildlife, however, will only undermine local efforts to secure a prosperous future for their community.

“Climate change shows no sign of softening the blows literally raining down on America’s communities, and we need to adapt to this new reality in a way that protects both people and birds,” said Dr. Karen Hyun, Audubon’s vice president of coasts.

“Fortunately, investing in our natural infrastructure and 21st-century energy infrastructure is both the best way forward for people and the best way forward for the birds and other wildlife also exposed to our changing climate.”

Natural infrastructure can help communities and birds recover from extreme coastal events, by buffering storm damage, absorbing flood waters, and providing a front line of defense from storms. To read Audubon’s Natural Infrastructure Report and learn more about coastal resilience and birds, please visit: http://www.audubon.org/conservation/coastal-resilience

Below are some examples of federal departments and agencies targeted in President Trump’s budget proposal. Highlighted are conservation programs that support Audubon’s work and the birds at risk if those programs are reduced or eliminated:

Department of Agriculture: Important programs include: Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Conservation Reserve Program, US Forest Service.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implementedTricolored Blackbird. This bird is found almost exclusively in California. Last year, roughly 55,000 vulnerable Tricolored Blackbirds, more than one-third of the estimated population, were saved by cooperation between California’s farmers, Audubon, the dairy industry and the US Department of Agriculture, as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Department of Energy: Important programs include: Solar Energy Program (SunShot Initiative), Wind Energy Program.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Common Loon. The Common Loon is one of the 314 species of North American birds that could disappear from current ranges due to shifting and shrinking climatic suitability. The Department of Energy’s renewable energy programs help America transition to a clean energy future at the speed and scale that birds and people need.

Department of the Interior: Important programs include: the Land and Water Conservation Fund, North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Neotropical Migratory Bird Protection Act, State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, US Geological Survey’s Ecosystems Science Programs, and WaterSMART.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Listed as federally threatened in 2014, this bird depends on riparian habitat across the Colorado River Basin, but its population has fallen as its habitat has dried up and disappeared. Fewer than 2,000 birds are estimated to remain. The WaterSMART program is a critical water conservation program that sustains water resources in the West needed by birds and people.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Important programs include: South Florida Ecosystem Restoration.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Roseate Spoonbill. Audubon has been studying this bird’s response to changes in America’s Everglades for 75 years. The evidence is clear that restoring freshwater flows to areas like Florida Bay that are vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise are critical for this species and other wading birds. Progress on projects like Kissimmee River Restoration has demonstrated that when wetlands are restored, the birds will return.

Environmental Protection Agency: Important programs include: Geographic Programs, National Estuary Program.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implementedSnowy Plover. The National Estuary Program has restored and protected more than 2 million acres of estuaries in the United States since 2000. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in Louisiana has received funds to monitor and protect nesting and foraging sites for threatened birds like the Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Plover, American Oystercatcher and Least Tern. The Geographic Programs managed by the EPA are especially beneficial to birds dependent on healthy aquatic ecosystems like the Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, Long Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Important programs include: Coastal Zone Management Grants, Regional Coastal Resilience Grants, National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implementedReddish Egret. Audubon leases and manages 15 islands protecting critical nesting habitat for more than 20 species of birds, including the Reddish Egret. These islands lie within the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve along the Texas coast.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of bird species that benefit from federal support and could disappear forever if collaborative conservation efforts like those listed above are made impossible by draconian budget cuts.

For more than 100 years, Audubon has worked with local, state and federal officials from both parties. With more than 1.2 million members from across the entire political spectrum spread out in red states, blue states and purple states, Audubon will continue fighting to protect birds and the places they need.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.Audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez, ngonzalez@audubon.org, (212) 979-3100.

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