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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Ducks Unlimited seeks Senate sponsor, House co-sponsors to reauthorize critical wetlands, waterfowl conservation program

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With an expiration date of Sept. 30 looming for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), Ducks Unlimited is seeking additional House of Representatives co-sponsors to back H.R. 1960, a bill to reauthorize NAWCA through 2017. DU is also seeking a sponsor to introduce an equivalent bill in the Senate.

Though Congress remains on winter break, DU is working to find a Senate sponsor prior to their return on Jan. 23, to begin the work of writing and presenting the new bill.

"We need the support of our senators and representatives to keep NAWCA a priority for the next five years," said Scott Sutherland, director of DU's Governmental Affairs Office in Washington. "This program is critical to the conservation of America's wetlands and waterfowl now and for future generations."

Rep. Rob Wittman (VA) introduced H.R. 1960, the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act, on behalf of himself and Rep. John Dingell (MI) on May 24, 2011. Additional co-sponsors are needed to get H.R. 1960 approved in the House. Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) has joined as a co-sponsor since the bill's introduction.

"We have some leads when it comes to House co-sponsors and a Senate sponsor, but we need all our members of Congress to step up to support this key program's extension, as well as the whole of North America's wetlands conservation efforts," Sutherland said.

Ducks Unlimited is also asking its members and supporters to encourage their senators and congressmen to support NAWCA reauthorization through an online call to action.

NAWCA 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. Every federal dollar provided by NAWCA must be matched by at least one dollar from non-federal sources.

Because the program is so effective, NAWCA funds are usually tripled or quadrupled on the local level. More than $1 billion in federal grants has been allocated for NAWCA projects—a figure that has leveraged an additional $3 billion from matching and non-matching funds. And, since its inception, more than 1,600 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of more than 25 million acres of habitat across North America.
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