Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                   
July 13, 2011

Contact: Suzanne Fellows (303) 236-4417

 

LEWISTOWN, MONTANA AND OGDEN, UTAH AMONG
URBAN BIRD TREATY GRANT RECIPIENTS

 

Denver, CO - July 13, 2011. Lewistown, MT and Ogden, UT are among ten cities Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today will receive funding as part of the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds (Urban Bird Treaty) grant program.

The Urban Bird Treaty program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), connectsparticipating U.S. citieswith private citizens, Federal, State, and municipal agencies, and non-governmental organizations to conserve migratory birds through education programs, citizen science, conservation and habitat improvement strategies, and bird hazard reduction activities in urban and suburban areas.

"For the vast majority of people, birds represent their most frequent contact with wildlife. Birds are a valuable resource, contributing aesthetically, culturally, scientifically, and economically to America's citizens. By taking steps to conserve birds and their habitat, we can also make our communities better places to live," said Service Director Dan Ashe. “This program not only promotes actions that connect people and nature, but it also increases awareness and encourages youth to get involved in learning about birds and the role they play in our environment and urban settings.”

Backed by challenge grants from the Service, the Urban Conservation Treaty will support bird initiatives in Lewistown and Ogden. Each Urban Bird Treaty city and their partners develop and implement bird conservation projects and provide matching dollars and in-kind support. The Service provides the challenge grants and technical assistance. Lewistown and Ogden will work with their partners to increase awareness of the value of migratory birds and their habitats—particularly their intrinsic ecological, recreational, and economic significance. The wide variety of native birds thriving in Lewistown and Ogden’s urban areas underscores the importance of these urban and suburban habitats to the survival of many bird populations.

“Birds are a critical component of every ecosystem and serve as an excellent indicator of the overall health of the environment,” said Jerome Ford, the Service’s Assistant Director for Migratory Birds.  “Creating green space in urban environments, landscaping with native plants in backyards and parks, adopting architecture and lighting systems that reduce collisions and keeping pets indoors can provide great benefits to birds, while also creating more livable communities.” 

Lewistown Initiatives
The city of Lewistown, MT, in conjunction with partners such as Ducks Unlimited, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Trout Unlimited, will use the challenge grants for a variety of avian-friendly activities. Among these are riparian habitat restoration, nesting platform construction, educational birding classes, and invasive plant removal.

Ogden Initiatives
The city of Ogden, along with a list of partners that includes Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, the Sierra Club, and Weber State University, also has a variety of conservation activities planned. These include creating bird-friendly outdoor classrooms for the city’s youth, developing bird safe building standards, and restoring riparian corridors.

The Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds program is designed to help municipal governments conserve migratory birds that nest in, overwinter, or fly through their cities. Launched in 1999, the first treaty was signed with New Orleans. The treaties represent a partnership agreement between a U.S. city and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve migratory birds through education, habitat improvement and bird conservation actions.

Visit http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/Partnerships/UrbanTreaty/urbantreaty.html for more information about the Urban Bird treaty Program.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/.

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-FWS-