Popular Wetlands Program Extended

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 16, 2006 – Congress and the president showed support for waterfowl and wetlands recently, when they reauthorized the North American Wetlands Conservation Act for an additional five years.

“This is a victory for wetlands habitat,” said Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young. “It’s a needed step for on-the-ground conservation programs, and will benefit DU’s partnership work in key habitat areas across the continent.”

First authorized in 1989, NAWCA provides a critical tool for public-private efforts to conserve wetlands in all 50 states and important habitat areas in Canada and Mexico. NAWCA helps to fulfill the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The legislation signed extends the program for another five years with up to $375 million for future NAWCA projects, beginning in fiscal year 2008. Funding for fiscal year 2007 has not yet been finalized by Congress.

“It was great to see support from the highest national level for this important incentive-based habitat programs,” said DU Director of Public Policy Scott Sutherland. “We appreciate the leadership by the Resource Committee’s senior members and their introduction of this important bill. We also thank the members of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission for their continued strong support.”

The popularity of NAWCA among legislators and conservationists comes from the program’s success. NAWCA has helped to create hundreds of partnerships at the local level to deliver on-the-ground conservation projects with multiple benefits for both wildlife and people. To date, more than 3,000 partners, both public and private, have implemented more than 1,500 projects. The law requires every federal dollar put into the program to be matched by at least $1 in non-federal money. Since its inception, that partner match has actually been $3 for every $1 in federal money. Those partner contributions have totaled more than $2 billion during the past 16 years. 

Contact: Neil Shader

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 80,000 wetland acres each year.