NYS Legislators pass Grassland bird bill!

ALBANY Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) announced the passage of legislation in the NYS Assembly on June 19 that will benefit grassland birds and the Washington County towns they call home.

The Senate previously passed a companion bill introduced by Senator Betty Little (R-45th Senate District).

The legislation would authorize New York State to pay taxes on lands it owns in the Washington County Grasslands IBA (Important Bird Area) towns of Fort Edward, Argyle and Kingsbury. This critical wildlife habitat is managed by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to benefit state endangered Short-eared owls and other threatened and at-risk grassland birds.

“The state pays taxes on preserved lands in the Adirondacks and Catskills,” said Assemblywoman Woerner.  “It’s only fair that Washington County receive this benefit as well.”

“This grassland has tremendous ecological value, protecting an important habitat. And there’s a tourism value as well as this bird habitat attracts more visitors each year,” said Senator Little.

“It’s a small bill that will reap big benefits for grassland bird conservation in New York State,” said FIBA Founder and Executive Director Laurie LaFond. “We’d like to thank Senator Little and Assemblywoman Woerner for getting the bill passed this year.”

This is the third year the Senate passed the bill but the first time it passed in the Assembly.  It still needs to be signed by the Governor to become law and we’ll be working to gain his support.

“It was thanks to FIBA’s efforts that this passed,” said Woerner.

Special thanks to: Audubon New York and Adirondack Mountain Club for joining us in lobbying for the bill this year and FIBA’s partners and colleagues who signed onto our letter of support: Agricultural Stewardship Association, Open Space Institute, New York State Ornithological Association, Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County, Brooklyn Bird Club and Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehab Center.