Note: Here’s a portion of the documents drafted by CDFW and Attorney General Becerra:
The protection of birds is of critical importance to both CDFW, which holds fish and wildlife resources in California in trust for the people of the State and has jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of those resources (Fish and Game Code §§ 711.7(a) and 1802), and to the Attorney General, who enforces state law, including statutes protecting birds. (Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12607 and 12511.) California courts have affirmed the “legitimate and, indeed, vital nature of a state’s interest in protecting its natural resources, including wildlife within the State,” stressing the State’s “obligation and duty to exercise supervision over such resources for the benefit of the public generally.” (People v. Maikhio, 51Cal.4th 1074, 1093-95 (2011).)
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released a legal advisory regarding the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and California’s protections for migratory birds. The advisory affirms that despite any reinterpretation of the MBTA by the federal government, California law continues to provide robust protections for birds, including the prohibition on incidental take of migratory birds.
The advisory – and a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Becerra as part of a multistate coalition in September 2018 – follows a decision by the federal government to roll back protections under the MBTA. The MBTA protects more than 1,000 native U.S. species of birds, including the bald eagle, America’s national bird, and other bird species that were near extinction before MBTA protections were put in place in 1918.