The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has passed a groundbreaking new ordinance that sets a major precedent for protecting migratory birds. The approved regulation aims to reduce the loss of migratory birds through “accidental ingestion” – the unintentional but predictable killing of birds.
“The new system is the first of its kind in the country and offers a model for other states,” said Joel Merriman, Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign Director of American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “The conservation benefits are obvious, and the rule also gives industry clarity as to the circumstances under which unavoidable side effects are allowed. It does all of this by using established industry best practices to reduce impact. “
The more than 100 year old federal law on the migratory bird treaty offers clear protection for migratory birds. For many years, the strengthening of implementation and enforcement has been discussed so that there is the possibility of leadership at the state level.
“Virginia has really stepped up and shown others how this can and should be done,” said Steve Holmer, vice president of policy at ABC. “The straightforward, sensible approach in this regulation provides a much-needed model for other states to follow. This offers bird protection and long-awaited regulatory security for the industry. “
Cerulean Warbler, Copyright Nolan A Lameka, from the Surfbirds Galleries
Virginia’s actions follow after three years of federal regulatory setbacks. The current government has taken steps to restore lost protection to birds. Meanwhile, birds in decline are at greater risk.
“Up to 1.1 billion birds are killed by industrial activity in the US every year,” continues Holmer. “We applaud the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for taking this important step towards resolving this massive avian population toll and we strongly encourage other states to follow suit.”
“This is a great step forward for birds and we salute the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Mike Parr, ABC president. “It is especially encouraging to see this shortly after the waterfowl habitat restoration in the Hampton Roads area last spring.”
The implementation of the new regulation will start on July 1st of this year and will mark an important milestone for the protection of migratory birds.