Top stories for March 16, 2010
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NAWCA enhancement heads to president's desk, DU pushes for approval
A bill to enhance the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is going to the White House for signature after being passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate last Tuesday night.
"The North American Wetlands Conservation Act continues to be one of the great success stories of conservation," said Dr. Alan Wentz, Ducks Unlimited senior group manager for conservation and marketing. "In the 20 years of the program, more than 25 million acres of habitat have been conserved. Enacting this bill will help foster more success."
The bill will allow for funds raised in Canada to be used to fulfill the matching requirement for projects that take place in Canada. Previously, Canadian contributions did not count toward the required match for projects.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Capitol Hill, waterfowl champions are continuing to push for NAWCA funding. Congressmen John Dingell (Mich.) and Henry Brown (S.C.) and Senators Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and John Thune (S.D.) are circulating a letter urging their colleagues to support appropriations for NAWCA for the 2011 fiscal year.
DU supporters can help this effort by clicking the button below to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support funding NAWCA at the highest level practical in this tight budget climate.
Proposal would protect redhead breeding habitat in Montana
A new bill from U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana would protect habitat for nesting redhead ducks. The North Fork Watershed Protection Act would protect land in the Upper Flathead Valley from destruction and loss. The region's large number of small wetlands has been known to support one of the highest densities of nesting redheads in the country.
"The legislation will protect the water quality of downstream flows to key wetlands in this drainage area. This is a critical staging area for migrating waterfowl and supports more than 50,000 waterfowl each year," said Robert Sanders, DU manager of conservation programs for Montana.
Most of the land in the Flathead Valley is federally owned, with miles of grasslands dotted with hundreds of small wetlands. The Intermountain West Joint Venture Coordinated Bird Conservation Plan and numerous federal- and state-level conservation plans list this valley as a priority landscape for waterfowl and other birds.
Iowa lawmakers champion waterfowl conservation
Iowa Representative Paul Bell and Senator Dick Dearden have received a 2010 Conservation Award for leading the charge to conserve more waterfowl habitat in the state.
Rep. Bell and Sen. Dearden received DU's Public Policy Champions of the Year award for their leadership to gain overwhelming bipartisan support for the passage of sustainable funding legislation in 2008 and 2009. This legislation will allow Iowans the opportunity to create a constitutionally protected Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. If approved by voters in November, this trust fund would provide important state funding for the protection of Iowa's water quality and fertile agricultural soils, as well as the enhancement of natural areas, including parks, trails and fish and wildlife habitat.
"Representative Bell and Senator Dearden have shown tremendous leadership and resolve to champion the passage of sustainable funding," said Eric Lindstrom, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist. "Thanks to their tireless and visionary efforts, Iowans will have a unique opportunity to support this landmark legislation."