We are the voice for birds and the people who care about them.
California Quail Photo: Rick Derevan
Audubon California is the voice for birds and the people who care about them in the State Legislature and with the Governor’s Office. For decades, Audubon has been improving conditions for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway, expanding access to nature by creating new parks and programs, and protecting essential places such as wetlands in the Klamath Basin, Central Valley, and the Salton Sea.
Audubon proudly seeks science-based, durable policy solutions that are developed in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders that include other conservation organizations, landowners, farmers, ranchers, and community-based organizations. We work with members of both parties to promote the protection of birds, the conservation of our state’s biodiversity, and the right of all communities to live in a greener world.
We support creating a policy in the State of California that ensures every person has equitable opportunities for safe and affordable access to nature. The bill would require all relevant state agencies to incorporate this policy into program implementation to vastly expand potential outdoor access opportunities for people throughout the state.
Access to nature and time spent in natural settings provide profound benefits for people, especially children. Children who spend time outdoors in natural environments have shown improved health and cognitive functions, strong motor coordination, reduced stress, and enhanced social skills.
Unfortunately, research indicates that communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in nature-deprived areas and that 70 percent of low-income communities live in nature-deprived areas. In addition, Black, Latino. Asian and Indigenous People often encounter hostility or threats when trying to enjoy time outdoors.
Audubon knows that access to nature is a right of all people.
Audubon supports establishing the California Conservation Ranching Incentive Program to assist ranchers to implement practices that will maintain and improve the health and resiliency of rangelands throughout the state.
California rangelands provide multiple environmental benefits and ecosystem services. In addition to food, fiber, and fuel, rangelands in California provide essential habitat for birds and wildlife in addition to climate mitigation, healthy watersheds, and thriving rural communities.
Rangelands in California are disappearing at a rapid rate. Land conversion, fragmentation, and climate-induced stresses such as fire and drought are impacting rangeland habitats putting further pressure on birds and other wildlife species. Not surprisingly, grassland-dependent bird populations are in a precipitous decline, having dropped by 50 percent over the past century.
Most California rangelands are privately-owned and the way they are managed is key in maintaining all the environmental benefits that they provide us. We can help protect enhance and increase the resilience of our rangelands by investing in rangeland conservation and management.
The program would encourage partnerships with ranchers and land managers and direct technical and financial assistance to ranchers to land implement regenerative agricultural practices like those promoted by Audubon’s Conservation Ranching initiative (ACR) such as prescribed grazing, riparian restoration, and native plant seedings that mitigate climate change, reduce wildfires, and promote biodiversity and healthy soils.
Helping ranchers take care of the land is a sound strategy to maintain and enhance the health and resilience of our rangelands.
Every day in the U.S., at least one million birds die due to building or structure collisions related to outdoor night lighting. A study found that reducing artificial night light by half can result in roughly 60% fewer bird collisions. This bill limits lighting to promote safe passage for birds so they can migrate by the stars.
Light pollution is disruptive to the naturally dark night sky and often results in a waste of electricity and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Light pollution negatively affects bird migration, foraging, and breeding behaviors and makes bird conservation efforts more challenging.
The International Dark Sky Association estimates that at least 30% of all outdoor lighting in the United States alone is wasted – primarily by lights that aren't covered. That wasted light totals $3.3 billion in lost electricity costs and the release of 21 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
In recent years, new lighting fixtures have become widely available that reduce unnecessary light pollution, save electricity, and are less harmful to people and wildlife. Audubon California is proud to co-sponsor AB 2382 with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and the National Parks Conservation Association to require all buildings owned by the State to implement measures to reduce light pollution.
The legislation requires the state to educate state agencies and the public about the problem too. It includes exemptions to protect human health, safety, and property, it will result in darker, more natural skies in many places where birds and other wildlife need it most.
American Kestrel Photo: Kristen Mauzy
On August 3rd, speak up for California's birds and communities by meeting with your state legislators through ZOOM. Space is limited so register today!
David Ringer, Chief Network Officer at the National Audubon Society, talks about the history of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, signed into law 100 years ago and why it is important today in this great video.
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