Canada Goose, Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, 2018

A pair of Canada geese call loudly from Stephen Young Marsh in the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge.

HUNTINGTON, Vt. – One of Vermont’s leading conservation groups has applauded the passage of state legislation filling gaps left open by the Trump administration’s rollback of a Migratory Bird Treaty Act protection.

Amongst a slew of legislation signed by Gov. Phil Scott according to a recent announcement was H.683, a bill guaranteeing legal protections against birds where a bird’s harm or death was “direct and foreseeable as a direct result” of certain activities.

The U.S. Dept. of the Interior said in late 2017 it would no longer be enforcing those protections on a federal level, leading to reports nationally of birds being killed in incidents like oil spills and chemical contaminations with little response from the federal government, according to a New York Times report.

Within Vermont, legislators approved H.683 as a means of codifying protections from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act within Vermont law, filling, according to a prominent conservation organization, “the gap for Vermont left by federal efforts to rollback bird protections” under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In a statement, Audubon Vermont’s executive director and the state’s former environmental conservation commissioner David Mears thanked the governor and his fish and wildlife department commissioner Louis Porter “for working with the General Assembly to pass this important law.”

“In a state with an abundance and diversity of amazing birds, and with a record number of birdwatchers, this law reflects an important investment in a future in which our birds, and our communities, can thrive,” Mears wrote.

According to Vermont’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, there are more than 260 species of bird in Vermont.

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