DC Debrief: Migratory Bird Joint Venture Fly In 2024

The DC “Fly In” occurs at the beginning of each calendar year and is organized by the Association of Joint Venture Management Boards to advocate for funding and support of the Migratory Bird Joint Venture Program (MBJV), a tri-national program with 23 habitat and three species Joint Ventures. During the week of March 4th, 2024, approximately 50 members from the Migratory Bird Joint Venture staff, management boards, and partners descended upon DC to share successes, highlight needs, and advocate for an increase in budget for the MBJV program to $25 million. On top of the MBJV ask, individual JVs, such as the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture’s management board members, advocate for regional priorities – such as the increased beneficial reuse of sediment and full funding for the EPA Region 9 office. 

This year we presented a united front in California, with participation from all 6 JVs included on a California one-page fact sheet and at our Senate meetings. This year also marked Kelli McCune, new JV Coordinator’s, first fly-in. Kelli was accompanied by an outstanding team of Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg (Management Board Chair), Jeff McCreary (Management Board member), and Nikki Roach (JV staff – Policy & Communications Coordinator). We participated in 13 Congressional meetings (12 from the Bay Area and Josh Hardcer CA-09 on the house appropriations committee) and two agency meetings (US Department of Agriculture – NRCS; US Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Office of Budget and Management, Natural Resources Division (Agriculture Branch) meeting. Throughout these meetings we were able to shine light on the effectiveness of the JV program, including leveraging additional BIL and IRA funds into on the ground conservation action and share examples from the SF Bay Area. We even celebrated migratory birds with friends and colleagues at a reception hosted by the American Bird Conservancy. 

During our visit, the FY 24 budget discussions were still underway. However, most FY 25 appropriations requests are now available on district websites. While in DC, we were able to solicit two Dear Colleague Letters for the MBJV program (Senator Padilla and Representative Khanna CA -17) and received word that the President’s Budget included $54.5M for our Region 9 EPA office. Our Management Board members are currently in the process of submitting appropriations request to individual offices. See our post on how to request government funding.