WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thirty-seven million.
That’s the increase in the number of waterfowl in the Prairie Pothole Region over the past quarter-century, according to the State of the Birds 2017 report, released Thursday, Aug. 3 by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI).
A news release Thursday by the NABCI credited and highlighted the Farm Bill, saying it has been an effective tool for wildlife conservation, sustaining essential habitat for more than 100 species. For farmers, ranchers, and forest owners, the bill provides a safety net that helps keep working lands from being developed, the news release continued.
Before 1990, wetland birds and waterfowl were on the decline, trending downward by 10 percent a year, the release said, adding that since wetland easements were added to the Farm Bill, those populations have increased 51 percent, and grasslands and forest birds have benefited as well.
State of the Birds is a regular report published by NABCI’s U.S. Committee, a coalition of 28 state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and bird-focused partnerships. Scientists, government agencies, and bird conservation groups use the State of the Birds as a resource in decision-making about conservation research, policies, and programs, the NABCI said. Last year, NABCI’s State of North America’s Birds Report found that more than one-third of North America’s bird species require urgent conservation action, the NABCI added in the release.