Thursday, May 14, 2009

Association Testifies Concerning Migratory Bird Joint Ventures and Duck Stamp Fee

On behalf of the Association, Kristin Saunders Evans, Assistant Secretary for Land Resources of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, testified yesterday before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee in strong support of the Joint Ventures Burd Conservation Act of 2009 (HR2188) from Congressman Frank Kratovil (MD) that would provide express authority for the migratory bird Joint Ventures (JVs); and in support of a bill from Congressman John Dingell the Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act (HR1916), that would incrementally increase the federal duck stamp fee.

The Association worked closely with the Subcommittee staff and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff in drafting the JVs bill to ensure that the bill reflects the success of the existing JVs as being grounded in a federal-state-private partnership; gives statutory deference to existing JVs; and establishes guidance for USFWS consideration of new JVs.

"The conservation of migratory birds is essential not only to the mission of the state fish and wildlife agencies, but to the core values of American society," said Saunders Evans. "Only through multi-scale partnerships that embrace an integrated, science-based approach to migratory bird conservation can we hope to achieve our common goals for the conservation of migratory birds and other wildlife."

The Association also has supported for several years an increase to the federal duck stamp, which has remained at $15 since 1991. HR1916 would raise the fee starting in 2010 to $25 until 2020 and to $35 thereafter.

"It is imperative, especially in light of future impacts of climate change, that we maintain enough high quality habitats across the hemisphere to sustain viable populations of migratory birds," added Saunders Evans. "This is why the Joint Ventures for Bird Habitat Conservation (HR2188) and the Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act (H.R. 1916), programs that emphasize habitat conservation and management across the hemisphere, are so critical.

Read full testimony