HELENA, Mont. – April 4, 2012 – Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester are among a bipartisan group of nine senators sponsoring the bill to reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
through 2017. Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK) introduced S. 2282 on March 29, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) and co-sponsors Sens. Thad Cochran (MS), Tim Johnson (SD), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Mary Landrieu (LA) and David Vitter (LA).
"Ducks Unlimited is extremely grateful to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, Baucus, Tester, Cochran, Johnson, Klobuchar, Landrieu and Vitter for their leadership in introducing legislation to reauthorize NAWCA," said Paul Schmidt, chief conservation officer for Ducks Unlimited. "This joint effort by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, coupled with a diverse suite of bipartisan co-sponsors, is a testament to how NAWCA is a model for uniting diverse and effective partnerships in support of shared conservation objectives."
Schmidt says NAWCA is the most effective wetland restoration program in the country, and he strongly urges the Committee to reauthorize NAWCA for an additional five years. DU is also asking its members to support NAWCA reauthorization using an online call to action sent to their representatives
. The bill is expected to be heard by the Environment and Public Works Committee on April 24.
"The volunteers of Ducks Unlimited applaud Senators Baucus and Tester's leadership and vision throughout the NAWCA discussion," said Bruce Posey, DU flyway senior vice president and Montana volunteer. "Stewardship of our natural resources is one of the greatest charges our leaders currently face."
has 27 NAWCA projects either completed or underway. These projects have conserved a total of 287,732 acres of wildlife habitat in the state
. Montana NAWCA funding of more than $19.1 million stimulated partner contributions of nearly $93 million.
Rep. Rob Wittman (VA) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives—H.R. 1960, the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act—on behalf of himself and Rep. John Dingell (MI) in May 2011. Thirteen additional co-sponsors have joined in support of the bill, and DU continues to reach out to House members to ask for their support of the program.
NAWCA conserves North America's waterfowl, fish and wildlife resources while producing a variety of environmental and economic benefits. Its success is driven by partnerships involving federal, state and local governments; nonprofit organizations like DU; and community groups. Every federal dollar provided by NAWCA must be matched by at least one dollar from non-federal sources.
Because the program is so effective, NAWCA funds are usually tripled or quadrupled on the local level. More than $1 billion in federal grants has been allocated for NAWCA projects—a figure that has leveraged an additional $3 billion from matching and non-matching funds. Since its inception, more than 2,000 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of more than 25 million acres of habitat across North America.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. 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. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.