The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that 24 bird-conservation projects in 15 countries across the Americas will receive a total of $20 million in federal and matching funds from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA).
The NMBCA provides critical funding each year for bird conservation and research throughout the Western Hemisphere and is the only source of federal funding solely dedicated to the conservation of migratory birds. This year, more than $3.8 million in federal funds will be matched by more than $16.2 million in partner contributions.
“Our migratory birds are international treasures,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson in a statement. “These projects will improve habitats for neotropical migrants, whether they are wintering in Panama or breeding in Pennsylvania.”
The NMBCA program is specifically designed to send at least 75% of its funding to projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, where habitat loss and other threats to migratory birds that spend part of their lives in the United States are significant and conservation funding is scarce. Because the program works throughout the Western Hemisphere, it is able to support the full life-cycle needs of the birds.
This year, supported projects include:
Cerulean Warbler Habitat Acquisition in Iowa
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and partners will conserve over 300 acres of key Cerulean Warbler habitat in the Driftless Area of northeast Iowa through the acquisition of three tracts.
Advancing Conservation and Management of Key Shorebird Sites in Panama
The Upper Bay of Panama is an Important Bird Area of continental significance. This project will help protect Western Sandpipers and other species through research and the development of a conservation plan that will guide future efforts, including addressing pollution from plastics.
Protecting East Andean Subtropical Forests in Ecuador
This project addresses crucial threats on 91,428 acres of key winter habitat for Cerulean Warbler, Canada Warbler and Olive-sided Flycatcher in southeastern Ecuador. Working with local communities, grant work will include reforestation on shade-grown coffee farms, as well as monitoring, research and the promotion of bird-friendly coffee certification.
Conserving Bicknell’s Thrush Wintering Habitat
This American Bird Conservancy project in the Dominican Republic will help improve wintering areas for the Bicknell’s Thrush, including the restoration of 73 hectares by planting more than 35,000 native trees and coffee plants.
U.S-Mexico Grassland Bird Conservation
The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and its partners will continue to build the Sustainable Grazing Network, which works “to sustainably manage ranches and increase abundance and survival of priority grassland birds.” This project will expand the network by 20,000 acres and develop management plans for these lands. And it’ll restore grasslands, monitor grassland birds, and work with ranchers and other stakeholders.
Since 2002, the NMBCA has provided $70 million in grants to support nearly 600 projects in 36 countries. These projects have positively affected more than 4.5 million acres of bird habitat and spurred partnerships on multiple levels contributing an additional $266 million.