OHIO (August 30, 2021) – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH-14) went birdwatching with Audubon Great Lakes at Walnut Beach in Ashtabula, Ohio to learn about important conservation work and discuss bipartisan conservation and climate solutions to protect Ohio’s birds and people.
“I am grateful to Audubon Great Lakes for taking me birding today,” said Congressman Joyce. “The Great Lakes are a national treasure, and one of Ohio’s greatest natural resources. I am a proud to co-chair the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force and be a champion of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has funded thousands of restoration projects, including Audubon Great Lakes’ work to restore wetlands here in Ohio.”
Marnie Urso, Senior Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes, who led the bird walk, was accompanied by Rebecca Donaldson, Secretary for Blackbrook Audubon Society, Dr. David Kriska, Restoration Ecologist for Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and Lynn Garrity, Lake Erie Program Administrator, Ohio Lake Erie Commission.
From the prairies in the west, to the unglaciated Appalachian plateaus to the south and east, and our great Lake Erie in the north – Ohio’s biodiversity provides critical breeding and migratory stopover habitat for more than 300 bird species such as the Common Gallinule and Prothonotary Warbler. Audubon Great Lakes is working with partners and planning to restore 18,500 wetland acres along the Lake Erie coastline, widely recognized as one of the most important migratory bird stopover locations in the Great Lakes.
Audubon Great Lakes also has efforts underway to launch shorebird, waterfowl and marsh bird monitoring with local volunteers, staff and partners taking place at six locations in Ohio including Walnut Beach and Conneaut Township Park. This monitoring will help inform bird population trends and advance marsh bird conservation efforts to bring back vulnerable species.
Much of Audubon’s conservation work is made possible through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which is a vital federal conservation fund protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. Thanks to millions of dollars of investment from GLRI and decades of restoration work, the nearby Ashtabula River was recently delisted from the US EPA’s Area of Concern list - the Great Lakes' most environmentally degraded areas. Walnut Beach has also received GLRI funding and is a site of Audubon Great Lakes’ work to measure how birds are responding to invasive species management at Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
During the walk, Audubon Great Lakes representatives and Audubon members thanked Rep. Joyce for championing the passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act. Audubon Great Lakes also shared how common-sense climate solutions like the Growing Climate Solutions Act will help Ohio’s farmers and foresters further invest in sustainable management practices to protect birds and people from climate change.
“We thank Congressman Joyce for being a champion of the Great Lakes and for supporting conservation funding that makes our work to protect birds and the Great Lakes possible,” said Marnie Urso, Senior Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes. “We look forward to continuing to work with his office to move forward common-sense policy solutions that will protect Ohio’s birds and people.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.
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