WASHINGTON — “The conservation title included in the Farm Bill is a good start for securing support for the farmers, ranchers and private foresters who are stewards of the land and the birds that depend on them,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy at National Audubon Society, after the House Agriculture Committee introduced the Farm Bill earlier today.
“The bill is a first step to expand critical partnerships with land owners for the next five years. National Audubon Society will be evaluating potential changes, and we are eager to engage our 1.2 million members across the country to work towards passage of a bipartisan bill that will be good for birds, agriculture and families.
“With more than two thirds of the lower 48 states in private hands, the decisions land managers make on a daily basis have a tremendous impact on wildlife habitat.”
How previous Farm Bills have benefited birds:
Farm Bill conservation programs have been critical to improving the efficiency of critical irrigation systems in the Colorado River basin, restoring wet meadows for Greater Sage-Grouse of the West, increasing young forest habitat for Golden-winged Warblers and controlling noxious and invasive plants near the Everglades.
- Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding has restored 13,000 acres of critical habitat for the globally threatened Golden-winged Warbler, which has declined 66 percent since 1950.
- With $10 million in Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funding, 100,000 acres of rice land was enhanced to create seasonal wetlands for migratory birds, while sustaining agricultural production.
- Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) funds enhanced 26,000 acres of wetland habitat benefitting water quality and quantity in the Everglades and supporting the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the threatened Wood Stork.
- Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) and EQIP funds have increased longleaf pine forests by 50 percent, from 3.4 million acres in 2005 to 4.7 million acres in 2017, benefitting more than 100 bird species, including the Northern Bobwhite quail.
- The RCPP-funded Tricolored Blackbird Project has helped save 100 percent of the vulnerable population last year by working with landowners to protect 57,000 birds across nearly 400 acres.
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.