Albany, NY (April 7, 2021) – "After a formidable year for New York State, we are pleased to see major wins for birds and people in the final budget. Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have shown remarkable leadership by reauthorizing the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act and continuing historic funding levels for the Environmental Protection Fund, New York Works, and clean water infrastructure,” said Erin McGrath, Policy Manager for Audubon New York. “These commitments will allow us to make substantial investments in restoring habitat for vulnerable birds, providing clean water and air for all New Yorkers, and ensuring we are ready to confront the challenges posed by the growing threat of climate change.
"During the pandemic, more and more New Yorkers are going outdoors, and over $185 million in funding for New York Works will support maintenance and improvements to our State Parks and DEC facilities. It will also fund the creation of the New York State Birding Trail, which will deliver additional opportunities for safe recreation. Interest in birdwatching has soared during the pandemic – leading more New Yorkers to learn about the joy of birds. And birdwatching is more than just a safe activity – it is also a strong economic driver. In New York State, 3.3 million people watch birds, and wildlife watchers at large generate approximately $4.2 billion in ecotourism revenue each year. This means that investing in the New York State Birding Trail can deliver two-fold by allowing for safe recreation and much-needed economic development.
"We are also pleased to see policy proposals that will help birds and the places they need. Over-browsing by deer has an outsized impact on our forests' health, destroying critical habitat for vulnerable woodland birds such as the Cerulean Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, and Wood Thrush and decreasing our forests' ability to store carbon. Authorizing counties to opt in to allowing junior hunters to hunt big game is a good compromise that will help the Department of Environmental Conservation to manage the deer herd by recruiting new hunters while respecting the unique needs of municipalities. We look forward to continuing to work with the State to pursue management strategies that improve our forests' health and the birds that depend on them.”
About Audubon New York
Audubon New York, a state program of the National Audubon Society, protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.ny.audubon.org.
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