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Farmers Help Migratory Birds Avoid Oil Spill

By Terrell Erickson, National Biologist, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Although no one yet knows the full environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we are hopeful about a new initiative to aid wildlife in the Gulf, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative.

Approximately 50 million birds travel to the Gulf Coast on their annual migrations to warmer climates.  Some stay through the winter while some feed and rest before flying over the Gulf of Mexico to Central and South America. Working with NRCS under the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative, farmers, ranchers, and other landowners will develop and enhance wetland habitats, to provide additional options away from oil soaked areas, for the birds to use on the long journey south.

The initiative includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas and is available for sign up until August 1st, 2010.

The project was recently featured on several television and radio programs:

- BBC/WNYC, July 8

- NBC Nightly News, July 6

- CNN, July 5

You can also visit our Web site here and view images of some of the migratory birds by clicking here.

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