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Government Relations Update – Summer 2021

An Update from Our Government Relations Team

To keep supporters like you informed of progress on the state and federal levels, we’re sharing accomplishments from New Jersey Audubon’s Government Relations team.

We recognize that millions of human-related bird mortalities are caused through building collisions. Through our work in Government Relations, our team is monitoring legislation that’ll promote greener infrastructure and practices to prevent further casualties of birds and other wildlife that we cherish.

While we complete this important work, there’s something all of us can do to help birds in need. We encourage our supporters to become part of the solution by getting involved in community and citizen science programs, like D-bird, to gain a better understanding of bird collisions and other bird deaths in New Jersey.

We ask NJ Audubon supporters to go to the website https://dbird.org/ on either your computer or mobile device to post photos of birds that have been killed or wounded and to add key information – date, time and location. In addition, you will be asked to include other useful information such as species, age and sex if it is known to you; there is also room for notes. This applies to all bird deaths observed – by collisions with buildings, both high-rise and residential, by being hit by a vehicle, by falling out of a nest as well as unknown reasons. All data submitted through D-bird helps our department justify and advance science driven policies that can prevent future collisions.

State Policy: Along these efforts, Government Relations was successful in advancing three legislative priorities this session.

  • S3618/A5778: a bipartisan bill to fund New Jersey’s lakes awaits Governor Murphy’s signature. This bill will provide a supplemental appropriation of $10 million for grants for certain lake management activities for recreation and conservation purposes.
  • For the first time since 2013, New Jersey will honor the state’s full, “fair share” commitment for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) in the amount of $893,000. DRBC is a four-state agency charged with taking care of water quality and quantity of the Delaware River.
  • S3263/A3897: increases the New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp fee for residents from $5 to $10 and the non-resident stamp from $10 to $15. Revenue generated helps to support wetland and waterfowl management goals in New Jersey. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature to be enacted.

After legislative recess, we look forward to working with both chambers to ensure our remaining policy priorities move forward.

  • S2515: a bill that would revitalize recycling by mandating recycled content standards and establish a stronger recycling market in the state of New Jersey, passed out of the Senate 22-14. The Assembly bill version A4676 has been referred to the Assembly Environment Committee.
  • A2070/S1016: restricts or prohibits most outdoor non-agricultural neonic uses while ensuring that other outdoor uses are applied by state-certified professionals. If enacted, this bill would remove many of the unnecessary uses of these pesticides in the state. The Assembly version awaits a full floor vote.

Federal: In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife, New Jersey Audubon proudly participated in a national fly-in to meet with congressional offices throughout the state to advance H.R.2773/ S.2372, bipartisan legislation known as Recovering American’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). This significant investment would dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state-led conservation efforts to prevent at-risk wildlife from becoming endangered along with an additional $97.5 million to tribal fish and wildlife managers. Our Government Relations team continues to monitor progress and asking representatives to co-sponsor this critical piece of legislation.

Additionally, we applaud President Biden for making history as the first President to include funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) in the Administration’s 2022 budget. This action amplifies the immense need for investment in our region to improve water quality, resiliency, wildlife habitat, and access to outdoor recreation.

The House Interior Appropriations Committee included $12.5 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) in its markup bill, representing a 25% increase from FY21 funding. Through NJ Audubon’s Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, we’ll continue to advocate for increased funding for the Program as we await the Senate Interior Appropriations Committee’s markup bill.

Thanks for all that you do for wildlife and our natural world,

Sincerely,

Eileen Murphy
Vice President of Government Relations

New Jersey Audubon