- What is it?
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is one of the oldest environmental protection laws in the United States. Passed in 1918 as a result of dramatic declines in bird populations, the law provides for protection and conservation of birds found in countries around the world. In spite of its name, the MBTA protects nearly all birds occurring in the U.S., even those that remain in the same general locations year round. It prohibits harm and harassment; and taking bird parts (e.g., feathers), nests, and eggs.
- What is the Army doing to protect birds?
Army installations provide habitat to hundreds of species of migratory birds during the breeding and/or migration.
USFWS and Department of Defense (DoD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July 2006 that outlines a collaborative approach to promote the conservation of migratory bird populations. The MOU identifies specific activities where cooperation between the parties will contribute substantially to the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.
At installations around the world, habitat management activities that are consistent with the Army’s mission are implemented to maintain a realistic training environment and benefit avian species. These include mowing and plant community restoration strategies, prescribed burning, training and outreach on bird conservation, and data collection to help Army leadership make informed decisions regarding selection of construction sites and other mission activities.
When a planned action has the potential to disturb or harm migratory birds, Army natural resources managers and wildlife biologists confer with USFWS to develop measures to reduce or eliminate negative impacts. In rare cases when impacts are unavoidable, a permit is requested which allows USFWS to track and monitor how / where bird populations are affected by human activities. The permits also specify certain conditions and terms that must be followed by the permit holder, again to minimize impacts.
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