Omaha, NE (December 19, 2019) - The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) Extension Act was introduced on Monday, December 16 through the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020.” The extension passed the House in a 280-138 vote and passed the Senate 71-23.
PRRIP, a multi-state effort that began in 1997, is a program that works to accommodate the habitat needs of target species by increasing stream flows in the central Platte River during relevant time periods. The program has been so successful, because it enhances, restores and protects habitat, in a manner that allows new water-related projects and uses.
All Nebraska representatives (Senator Fischer, Senator Sasse, Congressman Bacon, Congressman Fortenberry, and Congressman Smith) signed on as cosponsors of the PRRIP Extension Act realizing its importance for our state.
The approval came in the nick of time as the program was set to expire at the end of 2019. Audubon Nebraska and Audubon Rockies worked together to encourage all representatives from Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming to support this critical legislation for threatened and endangered birds on the Platte River. There was broad support from the federal representatives of all three states.
“Audubon has been a part of this program since it started over 20 years ago,” said Kristal Stoner, Executive Director for Audubon Nebraska. “We have shown that a commitment to PRRIP is a commitment to the betterment of birds and people that rely on the Platte River.”
Stoner details how pressure from upstream users continues even though 70% of the water is already diverted and 90% of the open channel habitat for birds such as the endangered Whooping Crane is gone. “As rain and drought patterns change, it’s crucial that the many user groups continue to work through PRRIP to find sustainable solutions that meet multiple needs.”
This bill will allow PRRIP to continue until the year 2032, providing 13 years of protection for threatened and endangered migratory birds (Interior Least Tern, Piping Plover, and Whooping Crane).
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.
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