Protecting America's shores for birds and people
Photo: Julia Robinson
Audubon is working to rebuild our coastlines and strengthen them as first lines of defense from storms, tidal surges, and rising seas. Read more about the importance of natural infrastructure, and what Audubon is doing to maintain and enhance it, in our Natural Infrastructure Report.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Audubon has all of our North and South Carolina, and Florida, chapters, members, staff, and family and friends in our thoughts now and in the coming days. See here for our report on lessons learned from Hurricane Florence. For further reading, see Four Ways to Protect North Carolina after Hurricane Florence.
The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season was devastating for people and birds. From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that wreaked havoc on communities to Tropical Storm Cindy that wiped out shorebirds at the height of nesting season, few places across the Gulf of Mexico were untouched by these historic storms. Read about our assessment of the effects that Harvey and Irma had on our shores in this report.
Hundreds of millions of people live on or near coastal areas, and increasingly, nationally-significant industries, from navigation and shipping to the thriving wildlife tourism sector, are susceptible the ravages of tidal flooding and storms. Birds also desperately need our coasts for critical nesting, migratory and stopover habitat—often before and after grueling, 500-mile nonstop flights during migration.
Storms are not the only challenges that coastal sites and communities face, as demonstrated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Years later, Audubon staff continue to report disturbing findings: oil oozing out of marshes where Seaside Sparrows nest, weathered oil still washing up on barrier islands and ongoing cleanup activities threatening nesting success of at-risk birds like Wilson's Plover. Other threats are not as easy to see. Birds may go hungry as oil reduces the availability of prey, including fish, marine worms, oysters, and crustaceans.
For Audubon, this issue literally hits home for us. Not only does the Gulf of Mexico provide habitat for nearly half of North America’s migrating birds, including the threatened Piping Plover and the iconic Brown Pelican, but Audubon as an organization has deeps roots and maintains a very active presence across the Gulf of Mexico. Audubon has five state or coastal offices, as well as a vast network of chapters, centers, and sanctuaries stretching across the region.
The Bureau of Land Management has released a leasing plan to sell out the heart of the Arctic Refuge to oil companies.
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