WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dec. 13, 2019 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) is celebrating 30 years since the bipartisan North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) was signed into law in December 1989.
NAWCA is a voluntary matching grant program that leverages non-federal and federal funds for wetland restoration. Since enactment in 1989, NAWCA has conserved more than 30 million acres and created an average of 7,500 new jobs annually. Every dollar spent by the federal government, on average, receives a $3 match from program partners like Ducks Unlimited. NAWCA is the nation’s most successful wetlands conservation program.
On Nov. 20, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 925, led by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) and Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), to reauthorize NAWCA at $60 million a year until 2024. This legislation is vitally important for the continuation of grant-based wetlands conservation programs and it awaits further action in the Senate.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of NAWCA to DU’s wetland habitat conservation mission,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “This vital tool has experienced unrivaled success in North America since its inception in 1989, and we believe the next 30 years will be even better. We thank our friends in the House of Representatives for recently passing legislation to reauthorize NAWCA, and we look forward to a similar result in the Senate.”
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approves NAWCA funded projects. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Thompson and Wittman serve as members of the commission and are leading advocates on Capitol Hill for policies to conserve and restore wetland habitat.
“For the last 30 years, NAWCA has been a shining example of a successful government program, investing more than $1.5 billion into conservation projects, which is matched three to one with non-Federal money, and protecting nearly 30 million acres,” said Thompson. “The wetlands we have been able to conserve are home to our most beautiful open spaces and a variety of species. What’s more, these projects help to safeguard our water supply and protect against flooding. Here’s to another 30 years of NAWCA boosting our economy and protecting our environment.”
“Washington should be doing more to identify those federal programs, like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, that have proven to be successful,” said Wittman. “NAWCA works to reduce wetlands disappearance and conserve migratory bird habitat; protecting, restoring, and managing wetland habitats is important, and it is critical that we continue to invest efficiently to conserve these areas for the use and enjoyment of future generations.”
“From sandhill cranes to ducks like pintails and mallards, wetlands are critical for providing habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife,” said Heinrich. “As a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I am proud to help approve NAWCA grants, and I have been impressed by the program’s demonstrated success in leveraging partnerships to restore essential habitat—including the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico. NAWCA also supports our thriving multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy. We must build on this conservation success to ensure our kids and grandkids will be able to hunt, fish, and enjoy our wildlife.”
“Throughout my time in Congress, I have been an active supporter of conservation programs,” said Boozman. “I understand that wetlands play an important role in our county’s efforts to protect clean air, soil and water. That is why I have been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of NAWCA. We can all be proud of the work it has done to protect wetland habitats and bird populations.”
NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting Ducks Unlimited’s mission, from restoring altered wetlands and enhancing water quality, to reducing soil erosion and mitigating the damaging effects of floods. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, like hunting and bird watching.
For more information, visit www.ducks.org/NAWCA, and be sure to Follow DU’s newest Twitter feed – @DUNews1937 – 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 waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14.5 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.