NAWCA - North American Wetlands Conservation Act


Photo © Michael Furtman

See if your legislators are supporting NAWCA funding for FY2019

NAWCA Overview

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act conserves North America's waterfowl, fish and wildlife resources while producing a variety of environmental and economic benefits. Its success is driven by partnerships involving federal, state and local governments; nonprofit organizations like DU and community groups. This program represents a sound investment of limited federal dollars as each federal dollar must be matched at least one to one but funds are often doubled or tripled at the local level. In fact, NAWCA grants totaling more than $1.48 billion have leveraged over $4.34 billion for NAWCA projects through matching and nonmatching funds. Since its inception in 1989, more than 2,644 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of almost 33.4 million acres of habitat across North America.

NAWCA History

NAWCA was enacted almost 30 years ago to provide federal cost-share funding to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement that provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated uplands habitats needed by waterfowl and other migratory birds in North America.

NAWCA is a non-regulatory, incentive-based, voluntary wildlife conservation program. NAWCA stimulates public-private partnerships to protect, restore, and manage wetland habitats for a diversity of migratory birds and other wildlife. NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting DU’s mission, from restoring wetlands that have been altered, and enhancing water availability, to reducing soil erosion and the likelihood of floods. NAWCA grants also help improve water and air quality, as well as recharge ground water. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, from bird watching to hunting.

NAWCA provides challenge grants for wetlands conservation projects in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Every dollar of federal money allotted to NAWCA must be matched by a dollar or more from non-federal sources like DU, or state fish and wildlife agencies. Because this program is so effective, funds are often doubled or tripled at the local level. Funds from U.S. Federal sources may contribute towards a project, but are not eligible as match.

In Washington, D.C., the Ducks Unlimited Government Affairs staff works with Congress in support of annual funding and the reauthorization of NAWCA to keep building on the Act's waterfowl conservation success.

To date, NAWCA has helped fund more than 2,644 projects on almost 33.4 million acres in all 50 states, areas of Canada and areas of Mexico. More than 5,600 partners, including private landowners, industry and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.

Other resources:

NAWCA fact sheets by state: