Reauthorization of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Act (NMBCA)

In 2000, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Act was enacted to help perpetuate healthy populations of neotropical migratory birds by conserving habitats in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The Act provides financial resources to foster international cooperation for bird conservation initiatives among businesses, non-governmental organizations and foreign nations. NMBCA projects include wetland and grassland restorations that benefit a variety of migratory birds, including waterfowl. The Act authorizes $5 million per year, and requires 75% of those funds be spent outside the United States. Partners must match grant requests 3 to 1.

Since habitat destruction is a primary cause of songbird species decline, the purpose of the Act is to perpetuate healthy populations of neotropical migratory birds by conserving bird habitats in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The Act provides financial resources to foster international cooperation for bird conservation initiatives among businesses, non-governmental organizations and foreign nations.

Since enactment, $10 million has been authorized by Congress to implement 109 projects in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. In fiscal year 2004, $3.8 million was appropriated to implement 40 different conservation projects. In 2004, 26 of the projects occur in Latin America, 7 in the United States and Latin America. Some 21 countries are represented. In the United States, projects are located in 16 states and Puerto Rico. Partners are adding a total of $16,193,389 to the grant funds to help advance the goals of their projects.

DU began working with Congress last year to reauthorize the Act as it was set to expire in 2005. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Senate version of the bill (S.1410) on July 20, 2005 which includes $5 million for each of fiscal 2006 and 2007, $8 million for fiscal 2008, and $10 million for each of fiscal 2009 and 2010. The House version of the bill (H.R. 518) has yet to be voted on. DU is continuing to work with House staff as this process moves forward.

As over 50% of neotropical migratory species are born north of the lower 48 states, DU advocated and achieved having Canada included in the latest NMBCA bills. The NMBCA has the potential to play an important role in DU's efforts to restore and protect waterfowl habitat in Canada's Western Boreal Forest as well as the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada and the United States.