ALBANY, NY – Today, Audubon New York applauds Governor Kathy Hochul for signing legislation sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblymember Pat Fahy, which would establish a goal to conserve 30 percent of New York State’s lands and waters by 2030. Making a commitment of this size will help New York State protect and restore biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Scientists have long recognized that a proportion of habitat in a broad landscape needs to be maintained or restored to a natural state in order to stop declines in biodiversity, protect ecosystem function, and increase resiliency to climate change. Conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 is the bare minimum needed to achieve those results and establishing a statewide goal will help New York State protect the places birds and people need to thrive.
A 2019 paper in Science showed the number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970, for a loss of three billion birds. Forests alone have lost one billion birds, and grassland bird populations collectively have declined by 53 percent or 720 million birds. Birds are telling us that we need to take immediate action to protect our environment and the critical ecosystem services it provides to wildlife and people.
In response, Erin McGrath, senior policy manager for Audubon New York, issued the following statement:
“Loss of habitat and climate change are two of the greatest threats to birds. Conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 is a critical step we must take to protect the places birds need to survive and mitigate the growing impacts of climate change,” said Erin McGrath, Senior Policy Manager for Audubon New York. “We thank Governor Hochul for signing this important legislation into law, and Assemblymember Fahy and Senator Kaminsky for championing this bill. We look forward to partnering with the Department of Environmental Conservation, our colleagues in the environmental conservation community, and landowners across the state to conserve our natural resources for birds and people.”
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