Contact: Perry Plumart 202-861-2242 <mailto:pplumart@xxxxxxxxxxx> <http://www.stopinvasives.org> INVASIVE SPECIES A MAJOR THREAT TO AMERICA'S DECLINING BIRDS Audubon Society Calls on Congress to Control Invasive Species "Hot Spots" Washington, D.C., Tuesday, June 24, 2003 - Today, the National Audubon Society launched a major effort to control and contain invasive species, emphasizing that invasive species are the world's leading cause of bird extinctions and a major threat to America's declining bird populations. Like the proverbial canary in the coalmine, birds are primary indicators of environmental health. "Invasive species are like a buzz-saw cutting through some of America's most valuable bird and wildlife habitat," said Bob Perciasepe, Audubon's Senior Vice President for Public Policy. "If invasive species are not controlled, they will continue to wreak havoc on America's already declining birds and the natural places they inhabit." A new report released today by Audubon, "Cooling the Hot Spots," recommends immediate investments to protect ten critical areas from invasive species. The ten Hot Spots highlighted by Audubon are: Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, Willapa Refuge in Washington, Wertheim Refuge in New York, Aransas Refuge in Texas, San Luis Refuge in California, Browns Park Refuge in Colorado, Waubay Refuge in South Dakota, Bosque del Apache Refuge in New Mexico, Blackwater Refuge in Maryland, and Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge in Mississippi. "We need to target federal efforts in the most critical areas, where progress can be made toward meaningful conservation results," said Perciasepe. "That is why we identified these ten invasive species Hot Spots: it is a science-based road map toward meaningful protection of America's birds, wildlife, and habitat, on the ground where it counts." Invasives like the northern snakehead fish, kudzu, and saltcedar have infested more than 100 million acres of the American landscape and continue to spread across 3 million additional acres yearly - the equivalent of a strip of land two miles wide stretching coast to coast. Migratory shorebirds like the Short-billed Dowitcher, grassland-dependent birds like the Short-eared Owl, and wetland species like Black Rail, are all experiencing population declines while much of their remaining habitat is lost to invasive species. For more information visit Audubon's invasive species website: www.stopinvasives.org <http://www.stopinvasives.org>. Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. # # # You are subscribed to Audubon-News. To unsubscribe, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. To adjust other settings (vacation, digest, etc.) please visit, http://www.freelists.org/list/audubon-news.