Our nation’s conservation programs support critical partnerships with communities to protect the local places we love and the habitat that birds need—from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound, and everything in between. Through a variety of important programs, they provide the funding, science, and expertise that enables needed restoration projects and protections for lands, water, and wildlife.

Last week, President Donald Trump offered a first glimpse at plans for the budget that funds these programs. Next week, more details on the budget are likely to emerge. While the early reports on potential cuts from the administration are concerning for birds, we know that the details of any funding plan will be debated for months in Washington. Standing between these initial announcements and any outcome: you, our members.

Here is a quick primer on what to expect as we move forward.

Why do we believe the federal funding process is important this year? Your representatives in Washington are responsible for what happens to funding for critical programs that advance Audubon’s conservation work. We believe there is a strong, bipartisan case to be made for why Congress should preserve responsible funding levels for such programs. For example, these programs have helped restore treasured ecosystems important to birds and people like the Everglades, Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, Long Island Sound, and Colorado River Basin.

How will the process play out? The President takes the first step by offering more funding details in a budget proposal this month. Members of the Senate and House will weigh in this spring with their own proposals, followed by debate, ahead of a final vote in late summer or early fall. It is important to remember: all funding decisions rest with your elected representatives in the Senate and House.

What can you do? Your representatives in Congress will have to vote on funding, and that provides you with a powerful voice in the outcome. They will need to hear directly from you! Even if you are not watching every move in Washington, you can be assured we are keeping a close eye on how funding plans from the Trump Administration and Congress will impact birds and the places they need to thrive. We will offer you opportunities to speak up at crucial points when it matters most. You can start taking action today.  

Audubon is a credible voice for commonsense conservation efforts that transcends party or politics. We believe you, our diverse membership in congressional districts across America, will play a critical role in ensuring our nation’s proud legacy of protecting birds and other wildlife endures.

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