Top stories for March 30, 2010
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Final push to support North American Wetlands Conservation Act
The drive to secure support for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is in its final days – and the time to take action is now!
The deadline for senators to sign on to the letter supporting NAWCA funding is Monday, April 5. More than 30 senators have signed on to support NAWCA already – see the full list here.
NAWCA projects already have put more than 25 million acres of habitat on the ground for waterfowl in just over 20 years. What sets NAWCA apart from other government programs is that every dollar from the federal government must be matched by at least one dollar from partner contributors like Ducks Unlimited. The projects are so popular that partners often contribute 2-3 times the federal investment.
Unlike most other government programs, every dollar spent on NAWCA means at least $2 goes to on-the-ground conservation.
Ducks Unlimited members and supporters need to let their senators know we expect them to support NAWCA. It's good for waterfowl and waterfowl hunters! Please contact your senators now—remember: the deadline to sign is April 5.
Prairie champion receives award
Ducks Unlimited recognized Sen. John Thune (S.D.) for his work to promoted critical conservation priorities – such as the Conservation Reserve Program and Sodsaver – with a 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Milwaukee, Wis.
"Senator Thune has demonstrated a commitment to protecting the Prairie Pothole Region for many years," said Scott Sutherland, Ducks Unlimited director of governmental affairs. "During this time, Senator Thune has contributed immensely to advancing one of the conservation community's top Farm Bill priorities, Sodsaver. Specifically, in 2007, Senator Thune played a critical role in advancing the inclusion of Sodsaver in the Farm Bill reauthorization."
"It is a pleasure working with Ducks Unlimited to promote good conservation practices like the Conservation Reserve Program and Sodsaver," said Senator Thune. "Thank you for the award and for all of the good work that Ducks Unlimited has done on the ground in South Dakota."
DU's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards are presented in six categories and recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America's wetlands and waterfowl.
NAWCA enhancement bill becomes law
The bill to enhance the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) that was passed unanimously by Congress has been signed into law by President Obama.
The bill will allow Canadian funding sources to count toward the required 1:1 match.
"This enhancement to the program will continue and build on the success that NAWCA has had over the past two decades," said Ducks Unlimited Chief Biologist Dale Humburg. "More than 25 million acres have been conserved through NAWCA, and allowing Canadian contributions to match the federal grants will foster more on-the-ground habitat for North American waterfowl."
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, NAWCA saving Louisiana coast
The success of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is being felt along the Louisiana coast as Ducks Unlimited and other partners are using grants from the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and NAWCA to restore thousands of acres of vanishing coastal wetlands.
"The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is familiar with Ducks Unlimited and our efforts to conserve coastal habitats in Louisiana," said Ducks Unlimited Manager of Conservation Programs Bob Dew. "We have partnered with many organizations to conserve more than 90,000 acres along the Louisiana coast. This is the most important wintering area for waterfowl in the country, and Ducks Unlimited will continue to work to ensure it remains for future generations of waterfowl and waterfowl hunters."
One of the projects Ducks Unlimited will be overseeing is Calcasieu-Sabine. This project will restore the natural flow of the First Bayou, preventing highway and street flooding, as well as construct over 100,000 feet of marsh terraces, which will restore or enhance more than 1,200 acres of habitat.
New conservation measure comes closer to law
The Iowa House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a permanent fund for conservation and recreation recently, echoing a state senate vote from late February.
"The future looks much brighter for Iowa's wetland and waterfowl resources," said James Roetman, DU's volunteer state chairman for Iowa. "The passage of this important legislation provides much more specificity, understanding and assurance to Iowa voters and our members that these funds will be invested wisely and as intended, as they head to the polls in November."
The legislatively created Sustainable Natural Resources Advisory Committee provided recommendations for the bill. The bill broadly defines that trust fund monies will be allocated to and invested in protection and enhancement of Iowa's natural resources and outdoor recreational amenities.
The legislation will be forwarded to Gov. Culver's desk to hopefully be signed into law. Enactment of this bill will provide greater clarity and accountability of allocation and distribution of funds from the new trust fund. Voters will be able to vote on this bill during the general ballot election on Nov. 2, 2010.
"This will help accelerate the conservation of wetlands, shallow lakes, wildlife management areas and other important waterfowl habitats in Iowa," said Steve Adair, director of DU's Great Plains Regional Office.
"DU has worked closely with many other organizations and supporters to build strong bipartisan support for this legislation," said Roetman. "We're grateful for the overwhelming support it received in both chambers, and realize it's now up to Iowa voters to make this vision a reality on November 2nd."