Tuesday, October 23, 2007

President Bush talks about migratory birds

In case you missed it, our president visited the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Md., over the weekend, and he talked about plans to improve stopover habitat for migratory birds in national wildlife refuges and national parks. He highlighted the success of cooperative conservation efforts that involve citizens, private groups and government officials.

President Bush also said:
There's something else we can do. I asked Congress to provide tax incentive to reward landowners who donate conservation easements. Conservation easements are a good way to ensure the long-term preservation of habitat. They allow people to give up the right to develop parts of their land and then count the value of that right as a charitable contribution.
He mentioned the Conservation Reserve Program, an element of the farm bill currently being rewritten in Congress.

He closed his speech by saying
Our efforts to restore habitats are strengthening bird populations. Since 2004, the Department of Interior has improved the status of five migratory bird species, and the Department is helping ensure that more than 62 percent of our nation's migratory bird species are healthy and at sustainable levels. But that's not good enough -- 62 percent is good, but we can do better. And so I've asked the Secretary to -- Secretary Kempthorne to focus on the status of five more species over the next five years. And to achieve this goal we need good data. I mean, we just don't want to be guessing about bird populations, we want to measure. And so I've asked the Secretary to produce a State of the Birds Report by 2009. This report will chart our progress, it'll identify species that need additional protections, and help us bring more of America's bird species into a healthy and sustainable status.

And Mr. Secretary, I appreciate your commitment. I appreciate the fact that you understand America's greatness is not measured by material wealth alone; it's measured by how we manage and care for all that we have been given. We're people united by our belief that we must be good stewards of our environment. The cooperative conservation policies that we have put in place show our commitment to protecting America's migratory birds, conserving the habitat they depend on and ensuring that generations of Americans will enjoy the beauty of birds for decades to come.

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