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3248FW: Migratory Bird Bill

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  • Steve Sosensky
    Jun 30, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Calbirders,

      I'm forwarding this from Curtis Marantz. There is a bill in Congress that
      affects migratory birds. I have not researched this at all, so I'm passing
      this on without comment.

      ========== forwarded messages =================

      Message 1:

      Hi Steve,
      I figured that because it is a California senator who is against this
      bill that it may be a good idea to forward the message below to CalBirds,
      especially given a bit of confusion over this one in recent days.

      Curtis Marantz

      >Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 14:51:41 -0400
      >From: "Slattery, Mike"
      >To: "Massbird"
      >Glen et al,
      >To clarify, both National Audubon and ABC are AGRESSIVELY supporting this
      >bill and it's companion bill in the Senate. Some 40 active bird
      >conservation and environmental organizations including the above
      >organizations and The Nature Conservancy have put that support in
      >writing. The ABC's Vice-President for Policy called me this morning to
      >ask for additional help moving these bills forward on the
      >Hill. Apparently Senator Boxer from California is holding up progress on
      >this very important environmental bill. A motivated network of birders
      >and conservation organizations would be helpful in this effort, especially
      >those with affiliations in California.
      >Pass the word, and thanks in advance for your help.
      >Michael E. Slattery, Assistant Secretary
      >Forests, Parks, Fish and Wildlife
      >Maryland Department of Natural Resources

      Message 2:

      Hi Steve,
      Below is another message posted on MassBird that provides the viewpoint
      of National Audubon on the companion bill in the House of
      Representatives. I gleaned from another message that the Senate version is
      S. 2547 and that it was introduced on Friday by Sen. George Voinovich
      (R-OH) as the Senate companion bill to H.R. 4114, the "Migratory Bird
      Treaty Reform Act."
      My problem is that I'm pretty busy right now, so I don't really have
      the time to compose an entirely new message to send out, especially when
      both of these are from relatively well-recognized sources.


      Subject: More info on HR 4114
      From: "Geoff LeBaron" <glebaron AT comcast.net>
      Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 09:42:09 -0400

      Greetings Massbirders,

      The issues around HR 4114 are complicated (so what else is new for any type
      of legislation...). The important issue is to KEEP the ability to control
      non-native, invasive species.

      I'm posting this release from the National Audubon Society, forwarded to me
      by Greg Butcher, Audubon's Director of Bird Conservation. Please note that
      most conservation and bird organizations support the bill--see the last
      paragraph here.


      Geoff LeBaron
      Williamsburg, MA
      glebaron AT comcast.net


      Christmas Bird Count Director
      National Audubon Society
      413 268-9372
      glebaron AT audubon.org


      HR 4114 Will Control Invasive Species and Improve Conservation of Native Birds

      Invasive species are one of the key factors in the decline of many migratory
      bird species. Many threatened birds on the Audubon WatchList are imperiled
      by invasive species, and invasive species have been partly or wholly
      responsible for a number of bird extinctions since 1800. Thus, as part of
      the program to achieve its mission, Audubon consistently has supported
      efforts to eradicate invasive species for the benefit of native birds and
      other native wildlife.

      A recent court decision, Hill v. Norton, turned conventional wisdom on its
      ear by extending Migratory Bird Treaty Act protection to the invasive,
      non-native Mute Swan, a bird native to Eurasia that is causing significant
      ecological damage to the Chesapeake Bay. Mute Swans displace and adversely
      affect native birds of the Chesapeake Bay such as Tundra Swans, Least Terns,
      Black Skimmers, Common Terns, and Forster's Terns and may affect many
      species of waterfowl such as Black Ducks. Mute Swans consume large amounts
      of Bay grasses, perhaps as much as 12 million pounds a year. The grasses
      are essential to sustain the Bay's Blue Crab population (its most valuable
      seafood), as well as to sustain many other aquatic resources, to ensure
      adequate water quality and to protect and sustain native species of

      While it is difficult, and indeed painful, for the Audubon Society to
      support the reduction of any bird population, it also is painful to watch
      the decline of the Chesapeake Bay, and the decline of the skimmers, terns,
      and other native birds that depend on a healthy bay ecosystem. The Audubon
      Society cannot support offering limited conservation dollars and effort to a
      single introduced, invasive bird species at the expense of an entire
      ecosystem and the associated natural functions and habitat values that are
      needed by an entire range of native bird species.

      The Hill decision is inconsistent with a longstanding common interpretation
      of the MBTA developed by professional biologists, environmental
      professionals, and agency officials in both the United States and in
      countries that are signatories of the treaties underlying the MBTA. The
      basic premise is that invasive birds are not meant to be protected by the
      Act, and instead they often are a serious threat to the hundreds of other
      migratory bird species that are protected by the law.

      This problem is not just limited to Mute Swans nor is it limited to the
      state of Maryland or the nation's eastern coastline. For example, the
      European Starling has demonstrated widespread negative impacts on native
      migratory birds throughout the country. Although estimates vary, it is
      commonly believed that a total of about 100 individuals were released into
      Central Park in New York City in 1890 and 1891. The entire North American
      population, now numbering more than 200 million and distributed across the
      continent, is derived from these few birds. Unfortunately, these millions
      of European Starlings offer intense competition for nesting cavities and
      have had a detrimental effect on many native cavity-nesting species.

      Affording the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to invasive,
      human-introduced birds that are not native to this country is ecologically
      unsound and contrary to the purpose of the Act. Most developed countries
      have policies that attempt to keep non-native, invasive, human-introduced
      species out of the country. They also take action when, by fluke or fault,
      species gain entry and reproduce. Most of these policies call for
      extermination. Audubon's policy strives only to keep the MBTA targeted to
      the birds that need protection – not birds that should be controlledd. This
      policy is intended to keep limited conservation dollars moving toward
      providing protection for all native migratory bird species that face a
      universe of other threats to their existence, and whose populations would be
      further jeopardized by yet another threat to their survival – that oof
      invasive species.

      HR 4114 would restore the Migratory Bird Treaty Act so that it applies only
      to native birds, providing state fish and wildlife agencies with the
      management flexibility they need to control nonnative birds that are causing
      serious ecological damage as well as causing serious harm to native birds.

      In addition to National Audubon Society, a wide range of major national
      conservation organizations support HR 4114, including Environmental Defense,
      The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and
      The Izaak Walton League of America. In addition, a large number of bird
      conservation organizations support HR 4114, including the American Bird
      Conservancy, New Jersey Audubon, Audubon Pennsylvania, Madison Audubon
      Society, Chappee Rapids Audubon Society, Maryland Ornithological Society,
      Virginia Society of Ornithology, Delmarva Ornithological Society, Georgia
      Ornithological Society, Cooper Ornithological Society, Wisconsin Society for
      Ornithology, and Connecticut Ornithological Society.

      Good birding,

      Steve Sosensky, SoCA Bird Guides www.sosensky.com/guides/
      <mailto:steve@...> for general use
      <mailto:mobile@...> rare birds and emergencies only
      Toluca Lake, CA 91602 818-508-4946 34.15645 N, 118.36715 W
      www.SoCalAudubon.org/socal/ www.SanFernandoValleyAudubon.org/sfvas/
      SoCal FRS: use channel 11 code 22
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