Conservation of Migratory Birds
About the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to
- barter, or
- offer for sale, purchase, or barter
any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations. Over 1000 migratory birds are listed in the MBTA.
Executive Order 13186, signed January 10, 2001, broadens the MBTA's applicability to the federal government: "Each Federal agency taking actions that have, or are likely to have, a measurable negative effect on migratory bird populations is directed to develop and implement, within 2 years, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) that shall promote the conservation of migratory bird populations."
About the Memorandum of Understanding
The purpose of the MOU is to promote the conservation of migratory bird populations through enhanced collaboration between EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding actions carried out by OPP. Migratory birds are an important component of biological diversity, and as such, conserving them and their habitats supports ecological integrity and healthy environments, contributes to public conservation education, and enhances the growing interest in outdoor recreation opportunities.
Under the MOU, OPP's responsibilities include:
- considering the effects of pesticides on migratory birds,
- improving reporting on wildlife incidents,
- using best available data in ecological risk assessments,
- ensuring that bird hazard language appears on all appropriate pesticide product labels,
- promoting migratory bird conservation in international activities, and
- encouraging Integrated Pest Management.
Some of the Fish and Wildlife Service's responsibilities under the MOU include:
- providing OPP with technical information on avian stressors,
- developing and providing OPP with species-specific avian conservation plans,
- developing a mechanism to exchange bird mortality information,
- promoting research into the effects of pesticides on birds, and
- making available information on alternative control methods to avicides and rodenticides.
Public Participation for the MOU
The public comment period on the draft MOU opened February 5, 2014. To submit comments, go to the docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0744 at www.regulations.gov. We will evaluate the comments and determine if changes should be made to the draft MOU. EPA anticipates signing the MOU at the annual Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds meeting in April 2014.