60 Senators sign on to letter for North American Wetlands Conservation Act
WASHINGTON – April 4, 2008 – Despite a tight fiscal climate that led to proposed budget cuts in many areas, a bipartisan majority of the Senate and nearly a third of the House of Representatives signed on to letters supporting funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
“It is a tough year for appropriations, and people everywhere are looking to trim the budget, so it is fantastic to see wetlands conservation is a priority,” said Bernie Marczyk, Governmental Affairs Representative for Ducks Unlimited. “Conservation funding is still critical to every state.”
“Ducks Unlimited is grateful for Congress’ continued support for this valuable conservation program,” Marczyk continued.
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is one of the most cost-effective conservation programs ever. Each dollar in federal grants must be matched by at least one dollar from non-federal partners – however, most grants are matched by two, three, even four dollars for each dollar in program grants. Since its inception in 1989, NAWCA projects have conserved over 23 million acres across North America.
Members of Congress were urged to sign on to a letter to the House and Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittees, who will determine what the funding level will be for the upcoming fiscal year. Last year NAWCA was funded at the full request of $42.6 million, equal to the President’s request for fiscal year 2009.
This year, the letter to the Senate Interior Appropriators was sponsored by Senator Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (ID) and was signed by 58 other Senators from both parties representing 42 states. The House letter, sponsored by Congressman John D. Dingell (Mich.) and Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (Md.), attracted 140 additional signers, again with a mix from both parties, and representing 46 states. Senator Lincoln and Congressmen Dingell and Gilchrest serve on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission along with Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.). That Commission ultimately determines which proposed projects are funded through NAWCA grants.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands – nature’s most productive ecosystem – and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.