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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the background and history of this initiative?

Legislation establishing the state's BCA Program was enacted by the New York State Legislature and signed into law on September 5, 1997. The Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program is modeled after the National Audubon Society's Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program.

What is in this legislation?

The legislation applies the criteria for designating IBAs to state-owned lands and waters, and seeks to "safeguard and enhance" bird populations and their habitats on these areas. The legislation creates a BCA Program Advisory Committee composed of representatives of various state agencies and private organizations.

What is the role of the Advisory Committee?

The Advisory Committee meets at least twice annually to advise state agencies on the designation, management, educational research and utilization of the sites identified as part of the New York State Bird Conservation Program.

What criteria will be used to identify BCAs?

Detailed criteria for designating BCAs are included in the legislation. An area can be designated as a BCA if it is judged an important enough site for one or more species. In general, a site is nominated because of its importance to large numbers of waterfowl, pelagic seabirds, shorebirds, wading birds, migratory birds, or because of high species diversity, importance to species at risk, or its importance as a bird research site.

What are the implications of BCA designation to the historical and traditional use of state land?

The BCA Advisory Committee has adopted the following goal statement:

The BCA Program will provide a comprehensive, ecosystem approach to conserving birds and their habitats on state lands and waters, by integrating bird conservation interests in agency planning, management and research projects, within the context of agency missions. Further, the BCA Program will develop a process for designating BCAs and implementing programs to benefit bird populations, serving as models for other states, local governments and private landowners.

What impact will the BCA Program have on recreation, including hunting, at designated areas?

The focus of the BCA Program is to provide a basis for the establishment of model stewardship programs for bird conservation on state lands. Designation of a BCA will not affect existing recreational activities. It will result in better opportunities to view birds, and improved information to explain why this area is important for birds. Current hunting regulations will not be altered as a result of the BCA Program.

I live near one of the proposed BCAs. Will the designation affect my property rights?

Not at all. The program only applies to state lands and waters. The purpose and intent of the program legislation is not to regulate private landowners, but for state agencies to better plan management of state lands and waters. This includes activities such as education, viewing, access, research, and careful planning for new facilities and improvements.

Can I obtain a map of the locations of the current Bird Conservation Areas?

Yes, visit our Google Maps and Earth Page and scroll down to the "Bird Conservation Areas" data set to view a map online in Google Earth or Google Maps, or see our Bird Conservation Areas New York State Map.

How will the BCAs be identified?

We are developing standard signs and other interpretive materials to identify these sites.

Will the status of BCAs be reviewed periodically?

Yes. Periodic reviews of BCAs will be made and new information included. This may call for additions or deletions of areas.

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