Habitat loss is the number one cause for the population decline of native birds and other wildlife. In the St. Louis Region, urban sprawl is the greatest contributor to this habitat loss. In cooperation with other regional organizations and agencies, the St. Louis Audubon Society (SLAS) has been actively engaged in the preservation of existing natural habitats by helping to identify, establish, and manage critical habitats for native populations of birds through a program called Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Key IBA efforts in the St. Louis region have included the Great Rivers Confluence, Cuivre River State Park, the Urban Oases of Forest Park and Tower Grove Park, and the Lower Meramec. Partners in these projects have been diverse and ranged from the US Army Corps of Engineers to the City of St. Louis and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
In recent years, St. Louis Audubon has become more involved with the active restoration of habitats at selected IBAs within the metropolitan area through volunteer projects like native tree planting and honeysuckle removal at Forest Park and Creve Coeur Park. Such efforts on public lands are important, but are not sufficient to stem the decline of native plants and animals in our communities. The greatest potential for habitat restoration in our cities and suburbs is on private lands—individual homeowners and businesses in the St. Louis Region. However, these spaces are often ignored and assumed to have little or no value as bird and wildlife habitat. Yet, if managed prudently, private lands collectively offer tremendous potential for urban wildlife habitat. The St. Louis Audubon Bring Conservation Home Program has been created to address this opportunity.
Additional information can be found at the links below:
- Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report
- State of the Birds report series
- Sierra Club’s Urban Sprawl Website