From the June 2015 Birding Community E-bulletin:
Toward the very end of April, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) met in Washington DC to make decisions on the acquisition of National Wildlife Refuge properties through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF). The MBCF is best known as the fund where "Duck Stamp" (officially called the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp) dollars are held while awaiting investment.
The commission approved acquisitions for nine NWR properties, with over $8,825,000 committed. The nine NWRs are as follows:
- A combined project for two refuges - Felsenthal NWR in Arkansas, and Upper Ouachita NWR in Louisiana - was approved, securing 1,383 acres at Felsenthal and 861 acres at Upper Ouachita.
- A 909-acre tract at Cache River NWR in Arkansas that was approved for acquisition.
- Cat Island NWR in Louisiana received approval to acquire 383 acres.
- A bargain acquisition of 1,778 acres to increase the size of Laguna Atascosa NWR in Texas was approved.
- Another Texas acquisition was for 360 acres at San Bernard NWR.
- There were 288 acres added to Mackay Island NWR in North Carolina.
- And finally, two refuges had lease renewals approved: 10-year leases on 9,580 acres at Red Rock Lakes NWR in Montana, and a five-year lease of 502 acres at St. Catherine Creek NWR in Mississippi.
We could describe in detail the wisdom behind making these particular acquisitions, including the specific bird-conservation value of each, but suffice it to say that of the nine refuges, five are considered globally Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and three are considered state IBAs. Only one does not have a current IBA designation.
You can get details on these refuges here, from the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp: http://www.friendsof...-8-May-2015.pdf
For additional information about worldwide IBA programs, including those in the U.S., check the National Audubon Society's Important Bird Area program web site at: www.audubon.org/bird/iba/
Finally, this represents a good opportunity to remind readers that the new annual Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation [Duck] Stamp, for the first time costing $25, will be released at the end of this month. And remember, if you don't buy a Stamp you can't take any credit for these sorts of vital MBCC (and IBA) acquisitions.