Press Release

July 13, 2011
Reauthorization would extend a cost-effective, highly successful federal program that helps to generate billions of dollars annually for the U.S. economy

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, called today an important stepping stone in the protection of Neotropical migratory birds like the Baltimore Oriole as the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) approved a bill that would reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act.  Authored by Senator Cardin, this bill promotes long-term conservation, education, research, monitoring, and habitat protection for more than 350 species of neotropical migratory birds that breed in North America in the summer and spend their winters in tropical climates south of our border.  

Senator Cardin’s legislation helps to sustain healthy populations of migratory birds that are not only beautiful to look at but assist our farmers by consuming billions of harmful insect pests each year.  Yet these important birds are particularly vulnerable to environmental factors including pesticide pollution, deforestation, sprawl, and other threats to their habitats. 

“Maryland’s rich natural environment is a lure for millions of tourists, and it is equally attractive to avian visitors each year. Across the country, bird watchers include over 48 million Americans, part of a wildlife watching public that generates at least $2.7 billion annually for the U.S. economy. For nearly a decade, federal investment in habitat protection, education, research and monitoring of neotropical migratory birds has been vital to the well-being of our ecosystem and our economy,” said Senator Cardin.

“The Baltimore Oriole, the Maryland state bird, has been experiencing a decline in population despite being protected by federal and state laws. Destruction of their domestic breeding habitat and tropical winter habitat, coupled with the toxic pesticides ingested by insects which are then eaten by the oriole, has significantly contributed to this decline. It is essential that we invest in conservation efforts in our country as well as others along the route of a wide range of migratory birds.”