March 25, 2021

Utah’s Migratory Bird Production Areas Receive a Boost

By Max Malmquist

Today, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill into law that will enhance protections for some of Utah’s most important bird habitat for generations to come. HB 83, “Migratory Bird Production Area Amendments,” sponsored by Representative Joel Ferry, and unanimously passed by the Utah Legislature, builds off of a 2009 law that allowed landowners to designate land areas of 500 acres or greater as Migratory Bird Production Areas (MBPAs). MBPAs are lands managed for migratory bird production and habitat or other compatible purposes.

The act calls for counties in which MBPAs are located to encourage the continuity, development, and viability of these areas, and gives them the “highest priority of use” status, which highlights their importance to migratory birds. Many MBPAs are directly adjacent to Great Salt Lake, are essential in maintaining continuity among wetlands, and play a key role in water inflows to the lake.

The 2021 amendments reopen the window for landowners to designate new MBPAs until July 2022. It also allows for expansion of existing MBPAs and adds further protections to MBPAs from certain forms of eminent domain.

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