America's coasts and estuaries encompass the majority of Audubon's Important Bird Areas, providing nesting and foraging habitat for countless birds including endangered, threatened and WatchList species. They also provide important habitat for two-thirds of the nation's commercial fish and shellfish, harbor significant native plants and facilitate coastal flood control and pollutant filtration. Senator Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) is sponsoring S.861, the Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act. The bill calls for creation of a Coastal and Estuarine Land Program whose goal is to protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical or aesthetic values and are threatened by development or conversion, creating programs that would guarantee permanent protection from development. S.861 also provides the Secretary of Commerce the opportunity to award grants to coastal states for approved coastal management programs. This bill can be very significant for our own state.
What you can do: Audubon is working hard to see that the Senate takes up and votes on this bill before they adjourn for the year. Please contact our Senators Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg and tell them how important this bill is for our coastal and estuarine resources. Ask them to support S.861 and push for its passage this year. Write to the Senators at United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510. Additional contact information can be found at http://www.senate.gov
Adapted from the Audubon Advisory, Vol 2003, Issue 17. For more information on this and other national issues, visit the NAS website http://www.audubon.org
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