Skagit Audubon
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Watching birds, protecting habitat, connecting with nature

May-Conservation Report

by Tim Manns

Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act

At least 390 bird species breed in North America and winter in Latin America or the Caribbean. Stemming decline in the populations of these migratory species requires protecting their habitat and addressing other problems they face at both ends of their annual journey and at stopover sites along their migratory paths. The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 2000 created a matching fund to spur projects to protect these migratory species with most of the funds to be spent south of the United States. Last June, with this act about to expire, our Second Congressional District Representative Rick Larsen joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle in a bipartisan bid to renew and improve this program. On April 9th of this year the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act (H.R.4389) passed the House.  The bill then moved to the Senate where on April 17th it passed on a voice vote.  With the Senate very closely divided, passing on a voice vote implies ample support for the bill from both parties. This bill reauthorizes an annual appropriation of $6.5 million and increases the federal cost share for grants from 25 percent to 33.3 percent. As with the earlier bill, at least 75% of the funded projects must be in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Canada. Find the bill report at CRPT-118hrpt439.pdf (congress.gov).

Congressman Larsen, himself a birder, represents many of Skagit Audubon’s members, and has done a bit of birding several times with Skagit Audubon and the other chapters in his district. We conveyed our appreciation to him for his work moving this bipartisan legislation through the House.

Prevent repeal of the Carbon Commitment Act (I-2117)

At the state level, Audubon Washington in concert with other conservation organizations is organizing to prevent repeal of Washington State’s arguably most important climate legislation, the Climate Commitment Act of 2021 (CCA). This act created a carbon market in Washington setting up a financial incentive for the state’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases to progressively reduce their climate pollution. Revenues which the system generates are funding a host of projects and programs addressing the effects of climate change. All these will end if the CCA is repealed.

Last year a lone individual in the Seattle area spent millions for paid signature gatherers to collect the thousands of signatures needed to bring six initiatives to the legislature. During its session earlier this year, the legislature passed 3 of those initiatives but decided not to act on the remaining three. Those three will appear on this November’s ballot, and among them is I-2117 to repeal the CCA (Initiative 2117.pdf (wa.gov)). The idea that the carbon tax has led petroleum companies, already making record profits, to raise gasoline prices has been the stuff of many news reports. Wherever the truth lies, the reality of human-caused climate change urgently requires action even if it does mean paying a bit more for fossil fuels while they are still in use. The CCA’s cap-and-trade carbon tax system is the most significant element of Washington State’s efforts to slow and reverse human-caused climate change and all it portends for birds and us. Please join the effort to prevent the passage of this reality-denying initiative. Follow this link https://act.audubon.org/a/sign-page-campaign-defeat-i-2117.

For information on conservation issues Skagit Audubon is following, please go to the conservation notes on the chapter website at Skagit Audubon Society - Conservation Notes.

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Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center (Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.

The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.