NAWCA Partners Urge Congress to Support Program in FY 2012 Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 5, 2011) – Several Idaho partners of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act sent a letter to Chairman of the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies subcommittee Rep. Mike Simpson (ID) urging him and the committee to include funding for this successful conservation program. Created over 20 years ago, NAWCA is a cost-effective, bipartisan, match-based grant that raises an average of 3.2 non-federal dollars for every federal dollar invested.

While letter signers include an array of non-profit organizations, state agencies and corporations, a large portion of the signers are private landowners who have partnered on projects funded through NAWCA in Idaho.

These NAWCA partners are urging Rep. Simpson to retain the current funding level of $37.5 million for the NAWCA program in the FY 2012 budget bill. The current funding level is 21 percent below $47.6 million allocated in FY 2010, the lowest level since 2005. 

In the letter, the partners explained that “serious cuts to or elimination of this program would seriously damage our country’s ability to protect and restore the critical wetland areas that are so important.” 

Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall said he hopes these letters will help Congress understand that conservation is an important issue to their constituents:

“Ducks Unlimited is well known for its fiscal responsibility, and we support efforts to reduce our national deficit. We understand that when it comes to budget cuts, Congress has tough choices to make. These choices make it even more important that cost-effective conservation programs that also provide positive economic impacts, like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, are not cut from the FY 2012 budget. 

In a time of tight budgets, it is important to remind Congress that conservation programs not only protect vital habitat and natural resources, but also bring significant income to local and federal treasuries, thanks to the jobs created through hunting and other outdoor activities. As FY 2012 budget negotiations continue, Ducks Unlimited and its members will continue efforts to inform Congress on all the benefits that NAWCA provides to our nation’s natural resources, people and economy.”

The letter is one of several NAWCA support letters that have been sent to Congress to raise awareness about the program’s positive economic impacts. Since its inception, NAWCA has provided on-the-ground wetland projects in all 50 states while helping to boost local economies and create jobs. Overall, hunting 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, for more information.

Emily Tyner