Nearby Colo. River spots to be named ‘important bird areas’ by National Audubon Society
Six sites in or near the Yuma area will be declared by the National Audubon Society as “important bird areas” today, as part of the inaugural Yuma Bird, Nature and History Festival.
The locations are along the Colorado River between Yuma and Lake Havasu City, and highlight the need for migratory birds, along with humans, to have robust water supplies from the river, said Tice Supplee, bird conservation director for Arizona Audubon.
“The Colorado River is a really important migratory bird corridor, and also where an endangered bird that lives in the marshes, called the Yuma Ridgway’s rail, breeds,” she said.
“We’re using the program to raise public awareness of (why) we need water for our natural areas ... That water is important for us too, so keeping our rivers healthy and flowing not only guarantees us a water supply, which has gotten really important as of late, but it can provide homes for these birds, too,” Supplee added.
The Southwest’s continuing drought is expected to trigger a shortage on the river by 2020, which brings mandatory cutbacks in water deliveries.
Signage marking locations as IBAs, or “important bird areas,” are being installed at:
· Cibola National Wildlife Refuge · Imperial Reservoir · Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
· Mittry Lake Wildlife Area
· Lower Colorado River Gadsden Riparian Area
· Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
Supplee said the Imperial Reservoir, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and Mittry Lake are also being declared “globally important bird areas” due to the endangered bird’s presence, and the Cibola refuge has “continental importance” for the huge number of migratory species with a presence there.
These IBAs were created in partnership with various government agencies who own/manage the different areas, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Arizona Fish & Game, and the Cocopah Tribe, Supplee said.
Supplee will dedicate these birding areas during the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago Buffet Dinner, tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Yuma Art Center, 254 S. Main St., Yuma. The cost is $35.
For more information about this and other activities of the Yuma Bird, Nature and History Festival, visit https://yumahistorymuseum.org/yuma-birdnature-history-festival.