Conservation

Creating Wetlands for Birds

The U.S. Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative has announced that they are willing to pay up to $20 million to Gulf of Mexico area landowners to flood their fields in hopes of attracting migrating birds to the clean water.  An estimated 1 billion birds will soon be migrating through the oil polluted area, and the land lakes would give them safe rest and nesting grounds.

brown pelicanThe Initiative will pay for up to 150,000 acres of farm and ranch lands along the southern border of the US that lines the Gulf of Mexico, advises the LA Times.  Landowners are being asked to flood their fields and promote bird-friendly plants, or improve any wetlands they have on their property.

The farmers who are already participating in conservation programs such as soil erosion control, pest management and water quality improvement, are expected to lead the sign ups.  Hopefully other farmers/ranchers will also sign up for the program, which is expected to last for 3 to 5 years.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is involved with establishing new waterfowl refuges as well as setting the price for any land and/or water areas that the Service is interested in purchasing.

One example is on June 16th, the US government announced that the Commission has approved a total of $35.7 million for acquiring over 319,000 acres of lands and wetlands in the United States and Canada.  In addition to protecting birds, preserved wetlands provide storm protection and prevent flooding, cleanse water, and provide people with recreation and wildlife viewing arenas.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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