The Urban Bird Treaty program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), brings together private citizens, as well as federal, state, and municipal agencies and non-governmental organizations to conserve migratory birds through education programs, participation in citizen science, conservation and habitat improvement strategies, and reducing hazards to birds in urban/suburban areas.
"For the vast majority of people, birds represent their most frequent contact with wildlife. Birds are a valuable resource, contributing aesthetically, culturally, scientifically, and economically to America's citizens. By taking steps to conserve birds and their habitat, we can also make our communities better places to live," said service director Dan Ashe. “This program not only promotes actions that connect people and nature, but it also increases awareness and encourages youth to get involved in learning about birds and the role they play in our environment and urban settings.”
The cities of Phoenix, Arizona; Kennedale, Texas; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Indianapolis, Indiana; Opelika, Alabama; Hartford, Connecticut; Ogden, Utah; Lewistown, Montana; San Francisco, California; and Washington D.C. have been named new Urban Bird Treaty Cities. These cities each will receive a challenge grant of up to a $70,000 from the Service. In addition, each existing Urban Bird Treaty city (Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Nashville Tennessee; Anchorage, Alaska; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and New York, New York) will receive a grant of $10,000.
The Urban Bird Treaty cities and their partners develop and implement bird conservation projects and provide matching dollars and in-kind support. The Service provides the challenge grants and technical assistance. The cities and their partners also work to increase awareness of the value of migratory birds and their habitats, especially for their intrinsic, ecological, recreational, and economic significance. The wide variety of native birds thriving in urban areas underscores the importance of these urban/suburban habitats to the survival of many bird populations.
“Birds are a critical component of every ecosystem and serve as an excellent indicator of the overall health of the environment,” said Jerome Ford, the Service’s Assistant Director for Migratory Birds. “Creating green space in urban environments, landscaping with native plants in backyards and parks, adopting architecture and lighting systems that reduce collisions and keeping pets indoors can provide great benefits to birds, while also creating more livable communities.”
The Urban Conservation Treaty Program started in 1999 when New Orleans became the first city to establish an Urban Conservation Treaty. New Urban Bird Treaty cities are joining a program with already more than 200 partners in nine cities committed to conserving, protecting and restoring habitat, and educating urban residents on the importance of migratory birds.
Visit here to learn more about the Urban Bird Treaty Program.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. They are a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for their scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on their work, visit www.fws.gov, facebook.com/usfws, twitter.com/usfwshq,youtube.com/usfws, and flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service