WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, called today an important milestone for the protection of Neotropical migratory birds like the Baltimore Oriole. The Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) approved a bill that would reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, authored by Senator Cardin, which promotes long-term conservation, education, research, monitoring, and habitat protection for more than 350 species of Neotropical migratory birds. Bird watchers include over 48 million Americans. In 2006, America’s 20 million wildlife watchers spent $12.8 billion on wildlife trips.
“Maryland’s state bird, the Baltimore Oriole, has been experiencing a decline in population despite being protected by federal and state laws. 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,” said Senator Cardin. “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. This legislation is cost-effective, budget-friendly, and has been a highly successful federal program. This simple reauthorization bill will make sure that this good work continues.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, between 2002 and 2010, this program has successfully supported 333 projects, coordinated by groups in 48 U.S. States and territories and 36 countries. The program is a great value for taxpayers, because it leverages over four dollars for each federal dollar spent. Since 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has invested more than $25 million in 262 projects in 44 U.S. states, Canada, and 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries.