The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC), chaired by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, recently approved more than $130 million in funding for various wetland conservation projects, including a project in California's San Joaquin Wetlands.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the 2020 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants are used to ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their life cycles. Of the projects approved, $33.3 million will be allocated for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 157,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds for 32 projects in 21 states throughout the United States. These grants will be matched by almost $85 million in partner funds.

"The Trump Administration continues to support wetland restoration and habitat conservation projects that benefit waterfowl and many other species while improving access to outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands for all Americans,&dquo; said FWS Director Aurelia Skipwith.

Wetlands provide many ecological, economic and social benefits such as habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. NAWCA grants conserve bird populations and wetland habitat while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, birdwatching, family farming and cattle ranching.

This year&squo;s projects include the San Joaquin Wetlands Conservation IV project - $1 million to restore and enhance over 1,500 acres in the California&squo;s Central Valley. Activities will benefit species including cackling goose, American wigeon and sandhill cranes.

"Wetlands and waterfowl habitat are disappearing at an alarming rate across North America,&dquo; said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. "Thanks to the MBCC and Sec. Bernhardt, this funding will continue to expand efforts to protect and enhance wetlands habitat to ensure future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy nature as we have.&dquo;

NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1989, funding has advanced the conservation of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico while engaging more than 6,300 partners in over 3,000 projects.