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Urban Bird Foundation Urges Senate to Fund Endangered Species Conservation and Recovery

On October 11, 2019, Urban Bird Foundation urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the critical funding the agency desperately requires for endangered species conservation and recovery.

In May 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES) released a landmark global assessment that alarmingly concluded that “around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers to biodiversity loss.”

The report, backed by the United Nations and more than 130 countries around the world, reviewed around 15,000 scientific and government sources and drew from indigenous and local knowledge. It is the most comprehensive document ever prepared on the status and trends of biodiversity.

Fortunately, the United States arguably has the strongest conservation law in place to help combat this massive extinction crisis—the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, decades of underfunding by Congress have hamstrung the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recover many of the species under the care of the Act. Despite this chronic lack of funding, the law has still been incredibly successful, which is nothing short of a miraculous accomplishment and a true testament to its effectiveness. There is no question many more species could be fully recovered if Congress fully funded the Endangered Species Act.

Because funding drives recovery progress, it is essential to provide sufficient resources for the recovery program. According to the letter delivered to the Senate Committee on Appropriations:

“Conserving our planet’s natural heritage is a monumental challenge, but we can do more, and we know what to do for our most imperiled wildlife and plants. The facts have demonstrated that for nearly all endangered species, the only path to recovery has been through protection under the ESA. The more quickly species are listed, the more quickly recovery planning and recovery work can begin, and the faster species can be delisted as recovered. We urge you to adopt the increased funding levels in H.R. 3055 so that more species can be saved from extinction and can be recovered and delisted more quickly.”

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