Members of Congress introduce letters in support of wetlands conservation

For the North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Photo © John Hoffman

WASHINGTON – March 5, 2018 – Bipartisan Dear Colleague letters have been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate supporting one of Ducks Unlimited’s top policy priorities — the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for FY2019. NAWCA is the only federal program dedicated to the conservation of wetlands. Since 1989, NAWCA has helped conserve more than 33.4 million acres of critical wetlands habitat.  

Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are leading the letter in the Senate and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), Rep. Don Young (R-AK- at large), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) are leading the letter in the House.

 “I recognize the importance of collaborative volunteer conservation programs, which is why I have supported the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for over a decade,” said Senator Crapo. “This program has had a strong impact across the United States but especially in Idaho, where it has conserved treasured places from the Kootenai Valley Wetlands to the Teton River Basin Wetlands. I welcome the opportunity to lead the bipartisan NAWCA effort again with my senate colleagues.”

“Wetlands play a critical role in supporting the migratory cycle of thousands of waterfowl, especially in the Atlantic Flyway and the state of Delaware,” affirmed Senator Coons. “NAWCA matching grants are critical in conserving healthy, vibrant wetlands that also support hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreation activities, which is why I’m honored to again be co-leading the NAWCA Dear Colleague effort in the Senate.”

In the coming weeks, members of Congress can show their support for the NAWCA program by signing onto the NAWCA Dear Colleague letters addressed to both the House and Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittees.

“The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a great example of a non-regulatory competitive grant program where public and private partners collaborate on-the-ground for real results for wetlands and waterfowl,” said Senator Inhofe. “This program is essential and leverages each federal dollar, which is why I’m proud to again work to keep it funded.”

“I’m proud to work with my colleagues in the Senate again in support of funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA),” said Senator Klobuchar. “Since its creation, this popular program has had a long history of bipartisanship just as my home state of Minnesota has had a strong outdoor heritage and waterfowling tradition. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure NAWCA garners the much-deserved support.”

NAWCA is a unique, voluntary-based competitive matching grant program that leverages non-federal and federal funds to protect, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife. NAWCA grants totaling more than $1.48 billion have leveraged over $4.34 billion for NAWCA projects, through matching and nonmatching funds, across all 50 states by engaging more than 5,600 partners. NAWCA has conserved over 33.4 million acres while also creating an average of 7,500 new jobs annually by helping fund more than 2,644 on-the-ground projects.

“The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a key driver of conservation efforts both in California and across our nation,” said Rep. Thompson. “As a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I have seen the positive impact this grant program can have and that’s why I am pleased to lead the NAWCA appropriations effort in the House that will protect this critical investment in restoring our nation’s wetlands.”

“Representing the 1st District of California as a family farmer has made me particularly aware of the interaction between agriculture and our natural resources,” said Rep. LaMalfa. “The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a key tool to conserve and restore some of our most important waterfowl habitat and ensure that it is available for future generations of hunters. I’m pleased to join my colleagues this year in supporting NAWCA.”

Since enactment in 1989, NAWCA has been touted for far more than the just the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. A large number of wildlife species, as well as people, benefit tremendously from healthy wetland systems that are the result of on-the-ground conservation made possible by the program. In fact, wetlands help prevent flooding, reduce the severity of storm surges and mitigate the damaging effects of soil erosion. Wetlands also improve water quality by working with underground aquifers to filter out pollutants.

“California is on the cusp of another drought right on the heels of one of the worst droughts on record. To combat these drier times, we need wetlands to store water and recharge our aquifers,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal. “The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) conserves and restores wetlands for this purpose as well as for habitat and the wildlife that depends on it. I’m proud to join my House colleagues in an effort to continue funding for this popular program.”

“The state of Alaska is known for its outdoor heritage and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) has a stellar record of conserving our natural resources in not only my home state but all across America,” said Rep. Don Young. “It’s my privilege again to support this program and work with my House colleagues to garner even more support.”

Ducks Unlimited commends these members of Congress for stepping up to support such a vital program for our nation’s wetlands and looks forward to working with our NAWCA champions to garner further support for FY19 funding.

For more information, please contact Whitney Tawney with Ducks Unlimited at wtawney@ducks.org or 202-347-1530.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:
Tucker Nelson
(202) 347-1530
tnelson@ducks.org