[CT Birds] Pending Open Space Legislation Impacts Bird Habitats

Milan Bull mbull at ctaudubon.org
Wed Mar 17 10:08:05 EDT 2010

Connecticut State of the Birds 2010 Report
Has Immediate Impact on the State Legislature

State Senator Edward Meyer Includes
Recommendations from 2010 Report
In Pending Open Space Legislation

State Senator Edward Meyer (D-12th District), Environment Committee co-chair, announced that he will incorporate recommendations from Connecticut Audubon Society's new Connecticut State of the Birds 2010 Report into pending legislation (Bill No. 5417) concerning open space. The Environment Committee will consider the revised bill beginning this Friday, March 19. This bill supports Connecticut Audubon Society's mission of protecting Connecticut's birds and their habitats.

During a press conference held March 11 in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut Audubon Society (CAS) issued its fifth annual report, Connecticut State of the Birds 2010. Connecticut Audubon Society's president Robert Martinez, Senior Director of Science and Conservation Milan Bull, and former CAS Board Chairman Ben Williams were joined by State Representative Richard Roy and State Senator Edward Meyer, Co-Chairs of the Environment Committee, and Karl J. Wagener, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality.

"The largest single conservation issue is habitat loss, and the best way to protect these critical habitats can be described in three words, and that's targeted land acquisition," said Robert Martinez, president of Connecticut Audubon Society.  "As we all know, birds and their habitats are key indicators of the environment and environmental health, and that affects all of us, whether we have two legs, four legs, or wings."

In the report's concluding "Recommendations" section, Connecticut Audubon Society describes how land acquisition is the key to wildlife habitat protection -- and habitat protection is the single most important element in conserving bird species and other wildlife. But the process that the State of Connecticut uses to acquire land is flawed and inefficient. It is based solely on land that is offered for sale rather than on a scientifically rational process that determines and prioritizes what lands are needed for habitat and conservation purposes. Connecticut Audubon Society's set of five recommendations are designed to revamp the state's current land acquisition strategies.

Connecticut Audubon Society looks forward to working with the State Legislature, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and our conservation partners to implement these recommendations, which are now included in Bill No. 5417:
1. Create a state map of all known protected public and private land.
2. Analyze the usefulness of these lands for protecting species of conservation concern.*
3. Identify and prioritize lands that need to be acquired in order to protect habitats of greatest conservation need.*
4. Establish an independent review board to help develop acquisition priorities and to oversee activities and progress.*
5. Create a funding plan.
*(Land should be valued using the "Biological Conservation Unit" concept as outlined in Connecticut Audubon Society's Connecticut State of the Birds 2009 report -- click here to read it -- thus enabling protection of a broader range of wildlife species as well as the key species of conservation concern.)

For full discussions of these recommendations, visit http://ctaudubon.org/SOTB/index.html to read the Connecticut State of the Birds 2010 report.

Milan G. Bull
Senior Director of Science and Conservation
Connecticut Audubon Society
2325 Burr St.
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203)259-6305, ext. 111
mbull at ctaudubon.org

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