Legislation Heads to the White House Following Congressional Approval
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2005 - Congress today extended an important funding element for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). NAWCA provides federal cost-share funding for habitat conservation projects for waterfowl and other migratory birds. A key federal funding mechanism for the Act is set to expire soon.
Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Jim Inhofe (Okla.) sponsored legislation to renew the funding source and worked to pass it quickly in the U.S. Senate. Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo (Calif.), and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) made sure the bill was quickly put before the House where it passed unanimously. The legislation now goes to the White House where presidential approval is expected.
"NAWCA is an important and cost-effective conservation program and action was needed to ensure its continued success," said Senator Inhofe. "The extension of the Pittman-Robertson funding element for NAWCA will ensure that our wetlands and wildlife habitat will benefit from on-the-ground conservation for years to come."
The enactment of NAWCA in 1989 provides that the money hunters pay to state wildlife agencies under the Pittman-Robertson program be invested. Interest from the investment is to be used to help fund the wetlands habitat projects carried out under NAWCA. Since 1937, the Pittman-Robertson program has supported state wildlife habitat conservation programs by collecting significant excise taxes on sporting firearms, handguns, ammunition and archery equipment. That money is re-invested in conserving and restoring wildlife habitat.
NAWCA brings together public-private partnerships to protect, restore and manage wetland habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife. Every $1 of federal money allotted to NAWCA must be matched by $1 or more from non-federal sources. Because this program is so effective, funds are often tripled or quadrupled at the local level.
To date, NAWCA has helped fund more than 1,300 projects on more than 20 million acres in all 50 states and areas of Canada and Mexico. More than 2,000 partners, including private landowners, industry and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year.