To help bring the plan's partnership concept to life, NAWMP supporters worked with the U.S. Congress to pass the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). Since 1989, more than 4,500 NAWCA partners have collaborated on over 2,060 conservation projects and conserved upward of 26 million acres of habitat in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The program encourages public-private cost-sharing partnerships that match every federal dollar provided by NAWCA with an average of more than three dollars from nonfederal sources.
In true partnerships, all the parties involved benefit. This is certainly the case with NAWCA. Taxpayers get "more bang for their buck," as public funds are used to leverage an even greater investment from the private sector, resulting in conservation of many more acres of wetlands than would otherwise be possible. And the benefits extend beyond waterfowl, duck hunters, and the broader public, as each year an estimated 7,500 new jobs are created through this wetlands conservation program.
Ducks Unlimited has been a partner in the majority of NAWCA projects completed across North America. In many states, DU has become the NAWCA broker for large coalitions of partners working together on wetland conservation. These partners rely on DU's staff of professional biologists, scientists, engineers, policy experts, and others to assist them in a wide range of conservation projects. In many cases, DU acts as the grantee, helping other partners accomplish a variety of specialized tasks, including land acquisition, wetland and grassland restoration, invasive species management, and habitat enhancement, as well as accounting and fundraising.
Promoting Sound Public Policy DU's ability to influence public policy has a direct impact on our ability to fulfill our conservation mission. Successful government programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and Wetlands Reserve Program began as policy initiatives. And the legislation behind these programs would not have passed without the support of waterfowl hunters and other conservationists who made their voices heard in the nation's capital. DU's Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., and our regional policy directors (including DU staff and volunteers) often meet with legislators to share the DU story and inform them about the need to support wetlands and waterfowl conservation programs. But DU can only do so much on its own to influence public policy, which is why we work with an array of coalitions and partner organizations that share our goals. Organizations such as the American Wildlife Conservation Partners, Healing Our Waters Coalition, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership regularly join DU in a collective call for conservation that carries farther in the halls of Congress than would any single voice.