Statement of The Nature Conservancy
Committee on Natural Resources
Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee,
U.S. House of Representatives
May 13, 2009
Madam Chair and members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate this opportunity to present The Nature Conservancy’s recommendations on H.R. 2188, and to express our support for H.R. 1916. My name is Andrew Manus; I am Director of Conservation Programs for the Conservancy’s Delaware Chapter.
My oral testimony will highlight several of the key program areas described in my written testimony.
The Need for Bird Conservation is Greater than Ever. The recently released State of the Birds Report documents the success that can be achieved in bird conservation through dedicated partnerships and funding. Many acknowledge that the increases in wetland bird populations over the last 40 years have been due to the effective implementation of habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement projects by partnerships — primarily coordinated through Joint Ventures. Notwithstanding this effort, there is still an enormous amount of work that remains to be done.
JVs Build Partnerships that get conservation done. In my own backyard in the Mid-Atlantic I have been fortunate as a former chair of the ACJV to see several new partnerships evolve and grow. Notably, the establishment of the Pocomoke River Partnership which is protecting forested bottomlands of the Pocomoke River and an important ACJV waterfowl focus area in the Tangier Sound.
Another example in the region of a partnership that is getting waterfowl and bird conservation done is the Rappahannock Land Protection Partnership, recognized last week by Secretary of the Interior Salazar with the prestigious “Partners in Conservation Award”. This partnership includes participation by the major regional and national non-profit conservation organizations, federal agencies, local land trusts and private landowners.
Stepping a bit out of my backyard, I would be remiss not to mention the “all-bird” South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative that was catalyzed by the ACJV. This partnership is an integrated conservation planning effort that embraces four major migratory bird planning initiatives (North American Waterfowl Management Plan, Partners in Flight, the Shorebird Conservation Plan and the North American Water Bird Conservation Plan). Since 1999, greater than 282,000 acres have been conserved through this partnership in 5 states at over 90 project sites.
JVs coordinate the science and delivery of bird conservation. The ACJV is developing tools and approaches for conservation that will allow it to assess the current capability of habitats to support sustainable bird populations and to target its conservation efforts more efficiently and effectively.
JVs help direct public and private funding to the highest priorities. Since 1988, ACJV partners have received 206 NAWCA grants for priority wetland conservation projects. The ACJV like other JVs has been — and continues to be a very effective delivery system for NAWCA.
The Conservancy proposes four recommendations for revisions to H.R. 2188.
These recommendations are:
My written testimony provides additional information on these four recommendations.
The Conservancy proposes two recommended additions to H.R. 2188.
I would like to close my testimony by reiterating our support for H.R. 1916, The Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act.
The Nature Conservancy strongly supports Congressman Dingell’s legislation. The legislation will increase the price of the Duck Stamp from $15 to $25 — raising critical new funds for wetland protection nationwide. An increase in the price of the Duck Stamp is estimated to provide an addition $14 million in revenue annually, which could acquire an estimated 6000 acres in fee and 10,000 acres in conservation easements annually.
Thank you for this opportunity.October 26, 2010