"Glenn Olson's experience in wetland habitat conservation is very impressive and will be a significant asset to these important advisory bodies," said Secretary Salazar in making the announcement.
Currently Audubon's Donal O'Brien Chair in Bird Conservation through Advocacy and Public Policy, Olson has more than three decades experience at Audubon, including executive director of Audubon California. His appointment comes as the Neotropical Migratory Bill funding is being renewed by Congress, and coincides with Audubon's own initiatives to restore wetlands and protect bird habitat along migratory flyways. These include the Important Bird Areas program in partnership with BirdLife International, and the Mississippi River Initiative.
Audubon reports assessing the State of the Birds evolved into a broad partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year. Released by Secretary Salazar in March, 2009, the U.S. State of the Birds report built widespread awareness of alarming trends in many bird populations. Based largely on data collected by Audubon's Christmas Bird Count, the report showed significant stresses on many types of birds across the nation and emphasized the importance of protecting wetlands and other key habitats. The 2010 U.S. State of the Birds Report is scheduled to be released March 11 in Austin.
"I am honored to be given a role in shaping how our nation responds to the threats facing migratory birds and to the greater challenges they reveal," said Olson. "When wetlands and natural habitats disappear, so do birds and other wildlife that depend on them—human health, economic benefits and quality of life are all diminished as well."
In 2009, NAWCA response to these threats took the form of nearly $60 million in grants to vital conservation projects in 37 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, as well as Canada and Mexico. www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/index.shtm
The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Advisory Group represents public and private organizations actively involved in the conservation of neotropical migratory birds. This Advisory Group includes members of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council as well as other bird conservation professionals. www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NMBCA/AdGroupAct.shtm
In 2009, the Fish and Wildlife Service awarded more than $4.8 million in Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grants to support 36 conservation projects in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Olson's appointment to the two bodies is effective immediately and continues through 2013.