Dear Editor:

New Jersey Audubon is deeply concerned about ongoing efforts on Capitol Hill to undermine the Endangered Species Act – a law passed by near-unanimous, bi-partisan support in 1973 - which works to recover threatened and endangered species. 

The attempts to roll-back the Act, if successful, would gravely threaten our incredible wildlife across America. There is no piece of legislation more important to protecting threatened and endangered species than the Endangered Species Act.

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In New Jersey, this law is creating recovery and protective measures to restore species like the bog turtle, Red Knot and Indiana Bat. 

This law requires the federal government and states to work collaboratively to protect critical habitat and has resulted in substantial progress toward reversing population declines. According to a 2016 report by the American Bird Conservancy, 70 percent of U.S. birds listed under the Act are considered stable, on the road to recovery, or already delisted. 

There is also great economic benefit afforded from the Act. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation estimates that the natural habitats protected in the 48 contiguous states through the Act provide approximately $1.6 trillion per year in tourism benefits.

Wildlife adds value to our lives and provides economic benefits to communities. A 2006 report estimated wildlife viewing accounts for about $522 million in visitor expenditures each year in Cape May County.

New Jersey Audubon is immensely proud of the success stories in our state, such as the steady recovery of the Bald Eagle, possible in part because of the Endangered Species Act. We now have more than 150 nesting pairs of eagles in New Jersey, with active nests in every county. 

We hope our Congressional representatives agree that the Endangered Species Act is a critical and invaluable tool to help species recover. We urge them to play a key role in defending the law.

 

Kelly Mooij

Vice President for Government Relations

New Jersey Audubon