Legislative Effort to Reduce Drought Impact on California Birds

Step in the Right Direction to Reduce Drought Impact on California Birds

February 19th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost

Northern Pintail (Wikimedia Commons)

Northern Pintail (Wikimedia Commons)

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p>Audubon California today expressed support for new legislation authored by California Senate Leader pro tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Pérez to address impacts from the California drought. The legislation would allocate about $680 million toward a variety of programs to alleviate the impacts of the drought on communities, farmers and the environment that supports birds.

“California’s drought impacts everyone, and the legislative package announced today represents an effort to offer support to the hardest hit areas,” said Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “We’re pleased to see these steps being taken to alleviate the tremendous human toll that the drought is taking on families and the economy, especially in disadvantaged communities. We’re also pleased that the bill considers urgent bird habitat needs – and would certainly like to see more attention paid in this area.”

McCormack noted that while the drought relief package offers a number of short-term solutions, it does not create the same kind of long-term problems created by legislation recently passed out of the House of Representatives. That bill would upend longstanding agreements on water policy, suspend Endangered Species Act protections and roll back the restoration of the San Joaquin River. A subsequent bill out of the Senate showed more promise, and Audubon California is looking forward to working with the authors on that bill.

California’s network of refuges and wildlife areas have been hit particularly hard by the drought and McCormack noted her organization’s interest in seeing more water allocated to these vital habitats for birds.

“Central Valley refuges depend on full allocations of water to support the millions of birds that need them for breeding and migration,” said McCormack. “Congress made a promise to these natural places that it needs to keep.”

About Audubon California
Audubon California is building a better future for California by bringing people together to appreciate, enjoy and protect our spectacular outdoor treasures. With more than 50,000 members in California and an affiliated 48 local Audubon chapters, Audubon California is a field program of the National Audubon Society.

More information is available at http://www.ca.audubon.org.

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