WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate approved bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) – the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Act (S. 310) – which will reauthorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s program to promote the long-term conservation, education, research, monitoring, and habitat protection for more than 380 species of migratory birds.  Portman recently introduced the bill with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and it was approved by the Senate as part of a larger legislation that includes more than 100 public lands, natural resources, and water bills.  Portman issued the following statement: 

“Hundreds of bird species migrate through Ohio each year, making Lake Erie one of the most popular destinations for birdwatching.  Birding contributes more than $20 million to Ohio’s tourism industry and attracts visitors from across the world each year.  Protecting and conserving these bird populations is critically important and I am pleased the Senate approved this bipartisan legislation. I’m looking forward to this legislation being signed very soon.” 

NOTE: Migratory birds, including Ohio’s state bird, the Northern Cardinal, continue to face threats from pesticide pollution, deforestation, sprawl, and invasive species that degrade their habitats.  Portman’s bill invests $6.5 million annually through 2024 for critical conservation programs that have demonstrated marked successes through public-private partnerships and innovative granting and conservation strategies.  Hundreds of bird species migrate through Ohio each year, making Lake Erie one of the most popular destinations for birdwatching.  Birding contributes more than $20 million to Ohio’s tourism industry and attracts visitors from across the world each year.  Ohio is also home to the annual “Biggest Week in American Birding”, based at Maumee Bay State Park. The week-long event brings in more than 75,000 people each year.   

Since 2002, more than $66 million in grants have been awarded through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (which Portman’s bill will reauthorize), supporting 570 projects in 36 countries. More than 4.5 million acres of habitat have been positively affected. In 2018, more than $3.8 million in federal funds were matched by more than $14.2 million in partner contributions going to 29 collaborative conservation projects in 16 countries across the Americas. 

Last year, Senator Portman received the Audubon Society’s Conservation Hero award for his work to protect migratory birds and their habitats. In 2014, Senator Portman worked to pass a resolution to recognize the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the last known passenger pigeon, once the world’s most abundant bird. The resolution highlighted the importance of conserving wildlife populations. 

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