From urban cities to rural towns, every level of government can take important steps to ensure New York’s municipalities provide habitat for birds. Whether building a new park or nature center, controlling invasive species in a local IBA or involving children in habitat enhancement projects at their school, effective long-term conservation must involve actions at the local level. These actions will not only improve local environmental health, they will help make these communities more attractive destinations for bird and wildlife watchers in New York who generate an estimated $4.2 billion in economic activity each year.
In particular, our State Parks system provides important local habitat reserves across the State. To focus efforts on improving this habitat at State Parks, in 2010 Audubon launched the Audubon in the Parks initiative with OPRHP, its Regional Commissions, Audubon Chapters and Friends Groups. The goal of this public/private partnership is to advance bird conservation in State Parks, specifically targeting BCAs and IBAs, while also connecting people to these unique sites.
In 2014 Audubon New York urges the Governor and State Legislature to:
- Increase EPF funding for invasive species management, and for the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquaria (ZBGA) program.
- Authorize and encourage local municipalities to enact a “Lights Out” program to require all municipally-owned buildings to turn off lights during migration season to help save night-migrating birds while reducing energy costs and pollution.
- Increase NY Works funding for revitalization of our State Parks system and direct a greater percentage of this funding to natural resource stewardship projects.
- Enable more municipalities to utilize the Community Preservation Act to generate local funding for open space protection especially at IBAs.
- Launch a statewide marketing program to promote bird watching in New York and capitalize on this ecotourism revenue.
Audubon New York Urges the President and the New York Congressional Delegation to:
- Provide greater federal support for improvements to New York State Parks either through increased investments in the Land and Water Conservation Fund - State-side or new funding.
- Provide increased federal resources for natural resource stewardship projects at National Parks, National Forests, National Recreation Areas, and National Wildlife Refuges.
- Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Education Grants program, and other funding sources that support invasive species management and restoration.