Godwit numbers decline as officials argue about long-term funding
National and provincial government have still not worked out how to finance a conservation plan for the black tailed godwit, a meadow bird which has been dubbed a Dutch national symbol, Trouw reported at the weekend.
The 2.5 year failure to agree means that €68 million in European subsidies remains unused while the number of godwits continues to decline, the paper said.
The number of godwits in the Netherlands has fallen sharply since the 1970s when there were thought to be some 120,000 breeding pairs. That total has now fallen to around 25,000.
An action plan to save the bird was drawn up four years ago and a six year funding package has been agreed. It includes encouraging farmers to plant more herbs on meadows, to change strategy on the use of fertilizer and to wait to mow until young birds have flown.
But the failure of officials to reach a deal on who will pay the long term cost of the package means nothing has been done so far. ‘It is ridiculous,’ said former minister Pieter Winsemius, who put together programme. ‘We hope that there will finally be agreement this coming summer.’
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