Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Loosing habitat/conservation funding

Recently, a discussion about conservation funding came up on the Ohio-birds email list. Although the topic seems to show up every so often in these types of forums, it is generally looked at as taboo to go in to much discussion about the subject. Many birders get very jittery when the subject even comes up. It often turns political and personal, which causes the subject to be put off.
But the fact is that politics, no matter how much we birders don’t want to admit it, is tied into the whole conservation issue. If we birders want to continue to be able to have *public* land that is attractive to birds that we can bird on, we must start becoming active on the subject. We are now seeing with increasing frequency, the disappearing of local birding hot spots. The fact is that this is going to continue. Many communities are losing funds to other more important issues (one example is here, click on “See the cost in your community” and then click on Ohio and then Cincinnati on the drop down menus.) Eventually, I feel that if we birders want suitable places to bird in the near future that is truly birdy, we are going to have to have our own *private* preserves. Organizations such as The Ohio Ornithological Society and others should look into the possibilities of raising funds for the acquisition of bird habitat. This will be the only true way, I feel, that we are going to be able to preserve suitable bird habitat in the very near future. But, even this approach has its problems. I know that many communities around this area see undeveloped land as an eyesore and loss of revenue. Even private land is not completely safe from development, but it may be all we can do (maybe conservation easements can be used in these situations?).
No matter how much we birders don’t want to admit it, all of this can be changed by making our positions heard in the way we vote. Enough said on that matter.
I will end with some more examples of how a local birding location is about to change (or has changed).

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but a local mountain bike club has made several trails on the south side of the park. Although I would say that this is minor as far as disturbance goes (it could be much worse). At first, I had no problem with the trails. However, now it seems that every 3 ft. there is now a mountain bike trail in certain parts of the park. They have cleared some trees and areas, causing some minor erosion. For example, I have seen places were Kentucky Warbler nest sites and nice wildflower areas have disappeared under the mower. For more information, see here

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