10 February 2015

Wildlife Official Presents at Omaha Seminar

A biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife gave a presentation on protecting wild birds at a recent sediment and erosion control seminar at Omaha.

Robert R. Harms, of the Nebraska Field Office of the federal agency gave a talk titled "Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Construction Projects" at the "Building for the Future" seminar on February 5th, sponsored by the City of Omaha.

The presentation provided "information about the conservation of migratory birds and how the Migratory Bird Treaty Act helps to ensure that migratory birds are around for generations to come," he said.

"It was an opportunity to educate a large group of people and show them how the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is relevant to them and how to maintain compliance," Harms said. "Violations of MBTA generally occur because people don’t know migratory birds are federally protected — this was our opportunity to provide some education."

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, enacted in 1918 as a federal law, prohibits "direct take" by either "intentional or unintentional means. Citations and fines can be issued, Harms indicated.

His talk gave particular points on how to avoid a violation:

  • "Don't wing it, deal with it
  • "Plan ahead
  • "Do clearing outside nesting season
  • "Survey during nesting season
    * "April 1 - July 15
    * "Qualified" surveyor
    * "Document results
    * "Take action"

Also discussed were the steps to take if a nest is found.

Harms' presentation — as given to about 300 people — and others from the seminar are available at the seminar website.