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 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.
AB 30 would make it the policy of the State of California that access to nature is a human right and that every human has the right to safe and affordable access to nature and its benefits. 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 spend 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. We are privileged to work again partner with Assembly Member Ash Kalra, the author of Assembly Bill 454 in 2019, which protected migratory birds from rollbacks by the Trump Administration of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Status: 5/10/2021: Approved by Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife; referred to Appropriations
SB 322 would establish the California Conservation Ranching Incentive Program to assist ranching operators to implement practices that will protect, enhance, and restore rangelands and grasslands.
Grasslands in California and across the nation are some of North America’s most endangered and sensitive landscapes. Not surprisingly, grassland-dependent bird populations are in precipitous decline, having dropped by 50 percent over the past century. Climate change, changing land uses, and climate-induced stresses such as fire and drought will exacerbate the loss of grasslands and put further pressure on grassland birds.
SB 322 offers an opportunity to conduct rangeland and grassland conservation at a very large scale in California. Many of the rangelands are on private land that is often not managed to benefit birds and other wildlife. Moreover, we are losing approximately 200,000 acres of rangelands every year as land is converted to vineyards, houses, and other uses.
SB 322 offers a chance to improve grazing practices and enhance grasslands and rangelands as biologically productive areas that promote biodiversity, sequester carbon, and reduce carbon emissions.
The program would encourage regenerative agricultural practices similar to those promoted by Audubon’s Conservation Ranching initiative (ACR). The program partners with ranchers to adopt techniques, including rotation of pastureland and limited use of feeds other than the grass itself. The practices allow a variety of native grasses – with their extensive root systems, a potent carbon sink -- to grow and thrive by allowing grasslands to rest and recover.
Status: 5/10/2022: in Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file.
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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