White House Budget Would Put America’s Birds on the Chopping Block

Trump proposal would mean crippling cuts to conservation programs key to bird survival and welfare.

WASHINGTON—“The budget proposal released today would be a death sentence for America’s long, bipartisan legacy of protecting our cherished natural places and the birds and other wildlife that depend on them,” said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), Audubon’s president and CEO.

The White House budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 would mean crippling reductions to America’s most important conservation initiatives, many of which support Audubon’s efforts to protect birds and the places they need.

“Millions of birders, hunters and outdoor lovers from all political backgrounds stand to lose forever their opportunity to pass on our shared natural heritage to their kids and grandkids if such a severe proposal is implemented,” Yarnold continued.

“Whether it’s cranes migrating through Nebraska, shorebirds nesting along our coasts or any of the 314 North American species threatened by a changing climate, birds all across the United States benefit from federal investment through conservation programs and now find themselves on the chopping block. From special places like the Everglades to the Colorado River, and the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, these programs protect birds and the places they need now and in the future.

“The slash and burn approach proposed by the President would be nothing short of lethal for bird habitat—whether it’s a local park or an iconic landscape—and communities that depend on these places.”

The Trump Administration’s proposed cuts for the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would affect all Americans and endanger birds all across the United States, especially those already facing threats from disappearing habitats and climate change.

“Conservation investments at the federal level have already struggled in recent years to meet the demand from local communities,” said Sarah Greenberger, Audubon’s VP of conservation. “But the President’s proposal would push birds and ecosystems all across America over the edge.”

“We look to our leaders in Congress to reject this White House budget and counter with a plan to restore funding for conservation to a level that secures a natural legacy our children and grandchildren can be proud of.”

Below are some examples of federal departments and agencies in President Trump’s crosshairs. Highlighted are conservation programs that partner with Audubon and the birds at risk if those programs are 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 implemented: Tricolored 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: Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle is one of the 314 species of North American birds that could disappear from current ranges due to shifting and shrinking climatic suitability. The SunShot Initiative decreases the cost of solar energy, which helps Americans 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, WaterSMART.

Bird at risk if Trump budget implemented: Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Once on the verge of extinction, this federally-endangered woodpecker came back from the brink thanks in part to State and Tribal Wildlife Grants and efforts from the Audubon network all across the Southeastern US to restore grassland and open woodland habitat.

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

Bird at risk of Trump budget implemented: Snowy 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 implemented: Reddish 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 easily 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 nearly one 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 at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.


Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez, ngonzalez@audubon.org, (212) 979-3068.