Ducks Unlimited members make the difference
WASHINGTON – June 25, 2009 – The House of Representatives is making a record investment in wetlands conservation by approving more than $52 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
"This is excellent news for America's wetlands," said Scott Sutherland, director of governmental affairs for Ducks Unlimited. "A strong investment like this will build on the success that NAWCA has had over the past 20 years."
Since its inception in 1989 as an implementation arm of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has conserved more than 24 million acres across the continent. A perennially popular program, NAWCA requires a $1 match in local and/or private funds for every $1 in grants from the federal government—however the program has been so successful that projects generally attract $2-3 for every $1 in federal grants.
"Since it is so widely supported, a $52 million investment from the federal government could mean a $200 million return for wetlands conservation—that's a lot of habitat acres on the ground," said Sutherland. "Ducks Unlimited would like to thank Congressmen John Dingell (Mich.) and Rob Wittman (Va.) for their leadership in securing these funds from the House."
Dingell and Wittman are both members of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which determines how to award NAWCA grants. The bipartisan congressional colleagues also spearheaded an effort to get their fellow Representatives to write to the Appropriations Committee supporting NAWCA. Ducks Unlimited members and supporters were integral in helping with the effort, calling and writing their members of Congress and urging them to sign the letter.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization and has conserved more than 12 million acres. 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 important to waterfowl each year.