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No sightings, but a dreadful step in the wrong direction that bears watching.

Bob Freeman
Madison Co., IL.

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May 28, 2004                                          Contact:  Nicholas
Throckmorton, 202.208.5636

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PROPOSES RULE TO ALLOW DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TO
                           TAKE MIGRATORY BIRDS


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose a rule that will allow the
Department of Defense (DOD) to incidentally take migratory birds during
military readiness training as directed by the 2003 National Defense
Authorization Act.  The proposed rule will print in the Federal Register on
June 2, 2004.

"Protecting our nation, including its natural resources, is of utmost
importance to Americans," said Service Director Steve Williams.  "The
Departments of the Interior and Defense have worked together to ensure the
proper management of migratory birds while providing the military the
ability to conduct important training for our men and women in uniform."

The proposed regulations require the Department of Defense to assess the
adverse effects of military readiness activities on migratory birds in
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.  They also require
the DOD to develop appropriate conservation measures if a proposed action
may have a significant adverse effect on a population of migratory bird
species of concern.  In addition, the proposal requires the Department of
Defense to monitor the effects of such military readiness activities on
migratory bird species of concern and the effectiveness of conservation
measures.

"Many of these activities are already included in military installation
Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans," said the Assistant Deputy
Under Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health,
Alex A. Beehler.  "The Department of Defense has been an active participant
in international bird conservation initiatives for more than a decade,
including Partners in Flight and the more recent North American Bird
Conservation Initiative.  Military lands frequently provide some of the
best remaining habitat for bird species of concern, and we will continue
our leadership role in bird conservation partnerships."

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to
ensure the perpetuation of migratory bird populations and their habitats.
Under the provisions of the Act, no one may take,  pursue, hunt, capture,
kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter,
or offer for sale,  import, export, or transport any migratory bird, or
their parts including feathers, nests, or eggs, except under the terms of a
valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations.   Migratory birds
include all species covered by the four migratory bird treaties with Canada
(1916), Mexico (1936), Japan (1972) and the former Russian Federation
(1976).   This includes all native birds in the United States, except
non-migratory game species such as quail and turkey that are managed by the
states.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act uses federal permits as a tool to assist in
the conservation of migratory birds to authorize otherwise prohibited
activities for scientific, educational, cultural, and other purposes.

Following a U.S. District Court decision on live fire military training,
Congress enacted the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, which
authorized an interim period during which the prohibitions on incidental
take of migratory birds would not apply to military readiness activities.
During this interim period, Congress also directed the Secretary of
Interior to promulgate a regulation to deal with the incidental take of
migratory birds in conjunction with military readiness activities from the
take prohibition of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

On December 2, 2002, the President signed the 2003 National Defense
Authorization Act.   The Act provides that the Secretary of the Interior
shall exercise her authority under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to
prescribe regulations for the Armed Forces for the incidental taking of
migratory birds during military readiness activities authorized by the
Secretary of Defense.  The regulations have concurrence of the Secretary of
Defense.
Please send comments on the proposed rule to the Division of Migratory Bird
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room
4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610 or comment on-line at
<[log in to unmask]> by July 30, 2004.  The proposed rule and other
related documents can be downloaded at <http://migratorybirds.fws.gov>.
For further information, please contact us at 703-358-1714.
. ***************************************************************************

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