WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 23, 2024 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) supports the Biden Administration’s expanded efforts to conserve and restore wetlands under its new “The America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge: A Partnership to Conserve and Restore America’s Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Wetlands." 

The Administration is building upon the United States’ longstanding policy of  "no net loss of wetlands," which establishes the goal of ensuring the overall acreage of wetlands in the U.S. does not decrease. Reaffirming this commitment, which was initially adopted by the first Bush Administration in 1989, demonstrates a prioritization by the White House of the collaborative effort required to protect and restore America’s continually disappearing wetlands.

"This effort represents a renewed energy and focus toward conserving North America’s critical wetland ecosystems for the next generation," said DU CEO Adam Putnam. "Conserving 8 million acres of wetlands is an ambitious statement of intent – and one that DU and our partners in the conservation and agriculture communities are eager to work alongside the Administration to accomplish."

The ambitious goals established by the challenge can be achieved through voluntary, incentive-based approaches to engage farmers, ranchers and other private landowners in a manner that capitalizes on local problem-solving and achieving real and meaningful conservation outcomes. This can be done by fully investing in the Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative, providing robust funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), modernizing the National Wetlands Inventory and utilizing the full capability of Farm Bill conservation programs, among other strategies. 

Since its enactment in 1989, Ducks Unlimited and our partners have utilized NAWCA to great success. NAWCA has conserved more than 32 million acres and has helped fund more than 3,300 projects in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. More than 6,800 partners, including private landowners, industry and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants. Since 1991, NAWCA grants totaling more than $2 billion have leveraged almost $5.6 billion in contributions from partners, making it one of the best returns on investment in conservation.

Among the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, wetlands support the lifecycle needs of 40% of all plant and animal species. Wetlands also support communities by filtering water, replenishing groundwater, reducing coastal erosion, capturing and storing carbon and providing recreational opportunities. 

But wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems on earth – the U.S. has already lost more than half its original wetlands. Despite progress by DU and other conservation partners, wetland loss in the U.S. continues to accelerate, according to the recent Wetlands Status and Trends national report. 

For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to Follow DU’s Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands, grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 18 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent comprehensive campaign. Learn more at www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:
Parker Williams
(202) 621-1646