Washington, D.C., September 19, 2011—
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently awarded 21 grants to conservation projects that will help conserve vital waterfowl habitat across the nation. The grants are being awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
, which is a cost-effective, bipartisan, match-based program that raises an average of 3.2 non-federal dollars for every federal dollar invested.
"These recently awarded grants prove that NAWCA continues to be a smart investment for our nation," DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt said. "Collectively, the project partners' contributions almost triple the amount of funds required, making this program a financially prudent way to conserve valuable habitat."
Every dollar of federal money allotted to NAWCA must be matched by one or more dollars from non-federal sources like Ducks Unlimited, or state fish and wildlife agencies. Because this program is so effective, funds are often tripled or quadrupled at the local level. Since its inception in 1989, more than 2,067 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of more than 26 million acres of habitat across North America.
While NAWCA is a strongly supported and highly effective program, it is currently facing deep budget cuts in Congress for the 2012 fiscal year. The House has proposed to cut NAWCA funding by up to $17.5 million from its FY 2011 level. A funding cut of this proportion could seriously jeopardize the program's ability to conserve prime waterfowl habitat
"Reducing the deficit and ensuring that our nation is financially secure are actions that Ducks Unlimited supports," DU Director of Governmental Affairs Scott Sutherland said. "However, especially in a time of tight budgets, Congress should support programs that provide good value and bring significant income to local communities, businesses and state and federal treasuries. NAWCA is one of those programs."
and fishing support more than 1.6 million jobs and generate more than $25 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes. Hunters and anglers in the United States spend about $76 billion per year pursuing their outdoor passions.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres, thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. Visit the DU website, www.ducks.org for more information.