Journeys with Jim: Important to preserve wildlife, habitats

Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 16:15
Written by JIM BELIVEAU

CORRESPONDENT

In the last few days, our resident winter juncos have finally departed the backyard for their secret places deep in the forest. We won’t see them again until about Halloween. Taking their place are our springtime visitors.

Along with finches, humming birds and the like, we do get some rare visitors like the Baltimore oriole, who oddly enough seems to enjoy a drink from the hummingbird feeder and visits it from time to time during the day.

As much as I, and I’m sure all of my readers enjoy the wildlife that’s all around us, it’s important to realize many species of birds and animals are threatened or endangered. Habitat loss, pollution, climate change, the reasons are many.

One species that come to my mind are bats. Over the last few years, the northeast has seen a dramatic reduction in bat numbers due to a disease called white nose syndrome. Although most people associate these little guys with legends of all sorts of evil things, bats are actually quite beneficial to people as they can eat their weight in mosquitoes nightly. How sad to think they could disappear from the landscape.

The wood turtle is another endangered species here as well. Once common in most parts of the state, their numbers are declining rapidly due to habitat loss.

A bill which is currently winding its way through congress is H.R. 4647, The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. The proposed legislation would dramatically increase funding for conservation of our national treasures, our fish and wildlife. Nearly all funding for fish and wildlife comes directly from hunters and fishermen through the Pittman-Robertson Act which in essence is a tax on all hunting, fishing and boating equipment sold in the U.S.

These monies are used for such things as habitat restoration and improvements to waterways, water quality and so forth. The annual dollar amount raised is staggering, yet more funds are needed to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy all of the wild places and the creatures that inhabit them.

Right now in our country, there are about 12,000 species of fish, birds and animals that are either endangered, or threatened with extinction. In a nation of such wealth it’s hard to grasp this grim fact. If signed into law, the new legislation would provide much needed money to states for improvements and many other important projects that would help conserve and protect our valuable natural resources.

From what I gather, Connecticut would, under the new law, receive about $10 million in funding. However, whatever the final dollar amount might be, our state would have to match 25 percent of federal dollars. I’m not sure where we’d find the extra money to match the federal grant, private donations maybe? Log on to Ournature.com to contact our state congressmen and ask them to vote for this important legislation.

There is a natural world all around us. Maybe in our busy lives we don’t seem to notice it much, but it would be a shame to lose such a treasure, especially for our children.



Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 16:15. Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2018 16:18.