Neotropical migrant projects receive $21M in grants

By Cassie Ferri

Ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) are one of over 380 species of neotropical migratory birds that migrate to, from and through the U.S. each year. Credit: Mitchell McConnell

Through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, 28 conservation projects in 18 countries across the Americas will receive $21 million in federal grants and matching funds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced.

The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) was passed in 2000 to fund projects that help conserve neotropical migratory bird populations and their habitats in the Western Hemisphere.

Neotropical migratory birds breed in the United States or Canada and spend the nonbreeding season in Latin America or the Caribbean, so international collaboration is necessary to effectively conserve these species. As a result, The NMBCA requires that at least 75% of appropriated funds be spent on projects outside of the United States. Since 2002, the NMBCA has provided $84 million in grants to support 686 projects in 36 countries.

The Wildlife Society has regularly advocated for robust NMBCA funding in the annual appropriations process and will encourage legislators to increase NMBCA funding in FY 2023.

One project that received NMBCA this grant cycle includes restoring the key habitat of nearctic migrants that spend 6-8 months in tropical habitats and implementing agroforestry systems in Nicaragua. Other funded projects will reduce threats to migratory birds through economic incentives and stakeholder engagement in Argentina and Paraguay and improve grassland habitat in the U.S. and Mexico. Species including golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera), bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), Sprague’s pipit (Anthus spragueii), ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), and over 380 other neotropical migratory bird species will benefit from these projects.

“We have lost nearly 3 billion birds in North America alone since 1970. We must ensure the diverse habitats where these birds breed, migrate and live are protected,” said USFWS Director Martha Williams in a press release. “Thanks to collaborative partnerships with many here in the U.S., and beyond our borders, these conservation investments will help many of the most at-risk species and ensure that birds continue to flourish for the next hundred years and beyond.”

This announcement comes as U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are seeking support from their colleagues to reauthorize and expand the NMBCA through the recently introduced Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act (S.4187). The bill, introduced in early May, would increase funding that can be provided to the program and make program grants more accessible to smaller organizations.

For information on how to apply to federal NMBCA grants, visit www.fws.gov/service/neotropical-migratory-bird-conservation-act-nmbca-grant.


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