Protecting Birds in Your Community
You know that the U.S. Congress allots funding each and every year for bird, wildlife and habitat conservation programs in this country, but do you know who is responsible for implementing those programs? That’s right – your state! Your state’s Fish & Game Agency or Department of Natural Resources is responsible for implementing plans and management strategies for effective wildlife conservation and restoration efforts. But effective implementation depends on Congress providing consistent and adequate funding to the states. And one way Congress does so is through the State Wildlife Grant program.
State Wildlife Grant funds provide states with the resources they critically need for effective bird and wildlife conservation and restoration efforts. All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa and the Virgin Islands use these funds in a variety of creative and cost-effective ways to stop the decline of species, including programs identifying Important Bird Areas, and fighting invasive species – non-native species that pose significant threats to critical habitat and native species. But the need to protect many species has never been greater. For decades, federal funding has focused primarily on conservation of important game species – those species hunted or fished by millions of sportsmen and women across America – and those programs have been enormously successful. At the same time, the population of many non-game species – those species that are not hunted or fished, has fallen dramatically over the past 30 years due in large part to a lack of resources to conserve these species prior to their decline – specifically many bird species such as the Cerulean Warbler and the Grasshopper Sparrow. The amount of federal dollars now needed to protect and/or restore the populations of these birds is far greater than would have been required to prevent their decline in the first place. Furthermore, thousands of species will continue to decline in the future unless resources are provided for proactive efforts before they reach the endangered status.
The State Wildlife Grant program can help conserve and restore species throughout our country, but only if Congress funds it at a sufficient level. Funding has fallen to dangerously low levels in recent years – a short-sighted decision, as adequate funding of this program and the resulting conservation actions taken now to prevent a species from becoming endangered will save significant federal taxpayer dollars that would have to go into species recovery later!
We need your help to convince Congress to fund the State Wildlife Grant program at the needed level. You can learn how to communicate with your lawmakers on this issue, or do so directly, by logging onto our special Website at www.audubon.org, and hitting the TAKE ACTION option today!
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