Funding increased to protect migratory birds program under Salazar, Joyce bill

U.S. Reps. María Salazar (R-FL) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) recently unveiled a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize and increase funding for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program, which provides competitive grants for habitat conservation, research and monitoring, and community outreach and education.

“South Florida’s birds are a vital and necessary part of our ecosystem,” Rep. Salazar said. “Neotropical birds that span the Americas are not only unique but are critical to pollinating many plant species in our forests and wetlands, including the Everglades. This legislation ensures those birds are protected.”

Rep. Salazar on June 27 sponsored the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act of 2023, H.R. 4389, which has three original cosponsors, including Rep. Joyce and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA). The bill would reauthorize the program for the next five years at $6.5 million for 2024; $7 million for 2025; $8 million for 2026; $9 million for 2027; and $10 million for 2028, according to the text of the bill.  

“Ohio is a haven for bird watchers, especially along Lake Erie. Birdwatching in Ohio attracts more than 120,000 visitors each year and contributes more than $20 million to local economies,” said Rep. Joyce, co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus. “Reauthorizing the successful Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program will continue to conserve bird habitats and support healthy bird populations, which are critical to our outdoor recreation economy.”

The American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society support H.R. 4389, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

“Pesticide pollution, deforestation and invasive species threaten the more than 350 migratory bird species that rely on the Pacific Northwest as their flyaway,” Rep. Larsen said. “This bipartisan bill will help protect these diverse bird populations and their habitats in the Pacific Northwest and across the Western Hemisphere.”