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GLIN==> Chicago, Service Sign Urban Conservation Treaty for Migra...

--------------- cc:Mail Forwarded ---------------
From:     NEWS@fws.gov AT FWS
Date:     03/31/2000 10:19 AM
To:       fws-news@www.fws.gov AT FWS
Subject:  Chicago, Service Sing Urban Conservation Treaty for Migra...

Subject:Chicago, Service Sign Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds

                                 John Rogner 847-381-2253 Jessica Rio (City
                               of Chicago) 312-744-5716


Mayor Richard M. Daley and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Director Jamie
Rappaport Clark forged a ground- breaking partnership today by
signing an
Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds.

The Urban Conservation Treaty, which carries with it a $100,000
grant, commits the Service to a long-term partnership with the
City of
Chicago and its conservation partners for the benefit of migratory birds.
Only the second such treaty in the U.S., it is both a symbol of
and a
framework for Chicago=s leadership in creating and enhancing
urban natural

AThe treaty is an important addition to our ongoing efforts
through Nature
Chicago to create open space, enhance habitat, and give
Chicagoans the
opportunity to appreciate and be stewards of the natural
environment,@ said
Mayor Daley.

Director Clark noted that the Service and the City of Chicago
have a long
history of working together for the benefit of wildlife and the
environment, and praised Mayor Daley for his strong commitment
to migratory

AChicago has an outstanding record of building environmental
with the Service. I=m proud that we can stand here today and
cement our
partnership in a way that will benefit not only birds, but also
the quality
of life of Chicago-area citizens,@ said Clark.

The Urban Conservation Treaty will provide a framework to
initiatives that will improve the area=s ability to sustain
populations.  In addition to working with the City and Parks
District to
incorporate bird- friendly landscaping into Chicago=s parks and
spaces, the treaty partners will launch a campaign to educate
homeowners about bird-friendly spaces in their back yards.

Chicago offers a unique environment that is crucial to the
success of
dozens of species of migratory birds. More than 7 million birds
through the Chicago area during their spring and fall
migrations, following
the Lake Michigan shoreline and stream corridors such as those
on the
Chicago River.

Treaty partners will classify and map key habitat for migratory
birds along
the lakefront and river, and in parks, cemeteries and other open spaces.
They will also develop and implement recommendations for
conserving and
enhancing that habitat.

Partners will coordinate migratory bird education programs and
activities to inform the public about the benefits and needs of
urban and
migratory birds. Many of these birds stop in Calumet area
wetlands, in city
parks and forest preserves, and in backyards across the city.
Urban and
migrant birds also flock to spots in Chicago such as the
Department of
Environment=s North Park Village Nature Center, which contains
wetland, prairie and savannah habitat.

Urban birds are among the nation=s most vulnerable bird groups.
to the most recent breeding bird survey conducted by the U.S.
Survey and the Service, only 31 percent of urban bird species
are estimated
to have increasing populations.  Their generally declining
reflect the cumulative effects of habitat loss, deaths from
pesticide application, and predation from domestic cats.

We clearly have our work cut out for us as we strive to meet
challenges and restore the health of our urban bird
populations. But the
level of commitment in this city and the tremendous work that
has already
been done offers the best evidence yet that we can accomplish
our goal,@
said Clark.

Through the Mayor=s Nature Chicago initiative, habitat
enhancement projects
are taking place on the lake and river, in the Calumet region,
and in city
parks. Chicagoans have opportunities in their neighborhoods
through the
Library=s NatureConnections program, and the Chicago Audubon
Society=s AFor
the Birds@ classes offered in city parks.

Mayor Daley remarked that Chicago=s efforts are supported and
matched by
those of many local groups.

AMany organizations and institutions are working together to
protect our
birds. Through Nature Chicago and organizations like Chicago
Wilderness, we
can have a tremendous effect,@ he said.

The Service and the City of Chicago joined more than 30
organizations to
launch the Chicago Wilderness partnership in 1996, for which
the Service
has allocated $600,000 annually.  The membership, now more than
organizations, includes federal, state, and local units of
cultural and research organizations, and not-for-profits.

Planning teams composed of Chicago Wilderness partners have
developed the
terms of  the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds,
and will share
in implementing it. As a first step, the teams have planned a
series of
nature walks, public events and other educational activities
International Migratory Bird Day in Chicago on May 13.

The Urban Conservation Treaty pilot program was started in 1999
when the
City of New Orleans became the first Urban Conservation Treaty
city. The
Service hopes to use these agreements as models for bird
conservation in
other cities in future years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal
responsible for conserving,
protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their
habitats for
the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service
manages the
93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which
encompasses more than
520 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and
special  management areas. It also operates 66 national fish
64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field
stations. The
agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species
Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally
fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as
wetlands, and
helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It
also oversees
the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions
of dollars in
excise taxes on  fishing and hunting equipment to state fish
and wildlife

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