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Ogden one of 10 U.S. cities to receive migratory bird grant

Published July 13, 2011 6:31 pm

Wildlife • $70,000 in federal funds to cover education programs, more habitat work.
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Ogden is among 10 cities nationwide to receive a chunk of $650,000 in federal funds for the preservation of migratory birds.

The Urban Bird Treaty program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fosters collaboration among government agencies, conservation-minded organizations and private citizens to safeguard migratory bird populations through education and habitat improvement within urban and suburban environments.

"We partnered with Weber State University and some smaller organizations to bring that funding here," said Ogden Public Services Director Jay Lowder.

John Cavitt, a zoology professor who directs Weber State University's Office of Undergraduate Research, spearheaded the partnership that landed the $70,000 grant and Ogden's designation as an Urban Bird Treaty city.

Ogden's partners include the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources; Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge; Ogden Nature Center; Ogden School District; Wasatch Audubon Society; Weber Pathways; Weber State; and various volunteers, Cavitt said.

"One of the major reasons I think we were successful is the Ogden River restoration process that's going on," Cavitt said, noting that returning the river to its natural flood plain enhances bird habitat.

Along with an education campaign and further habitat work along the Ogden River, a Weber State ecology class will work with an Ogden school to establish a schoolyard bird habitat this fall. The younger students will monitor the habitat and send information to a national database at Cornell University, Cavitt said.

And Weber State art students will team with Ogden Preparatory Academy to design a mural that showcases Ogden's new designation.

"We're hoping to make a real impact for migratory birds," Cavitt said.

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Aid for migratory birds

Other cities also receiving up to $70,000 each in federal funds for preservation of migratory birds include Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Kennedale, Texas; Lewistown, Mont.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Opelika, Ala.; Phoenix; San Francisco; and Washington D.C.

Existing Urban Bird Treaty cities — Anchorage, Alaska; Chicago; Houston; Nashville, Tenn.; New York City; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; and Philadelphia — also received $10,000 each in this round of funding.

To learn more about the program, go to http://1.usa.gov/9zH04U.