Marking out its 30th anniversary, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) has been renewed for 2019 by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt for $28 million dollars for conservation of coastal and non-coastal wetlands across the United States.
Wetland areas constitute one of the most important and also fragile ecosystems in the nation and the world. They’re home to a panoply of specialized plants, act as a buffer between storm surges and property, help to prevent soil erosion, and provide nesting and feeding habitat for hundreds of waterbirds.
Of the funds issued, $23.9 million was allocated for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 150,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 20 states throughout the United States. These grants will be matched by more than $72 million in partner funds.
Programs for the Missouri River Valley Wetlands will receive $1 million to acquire, restore, and enhance 4,618 acres of major wetland and grassland complexes within the Missouri River Alluvial Plain in western Iowa and northwest Missouri, benefitting northern pintail, lesser scaup and many other species.
A stretch of the Upper Snake River will receive $1 million to ensure the protection of one of America’s great rivers. 1,691 acres of migrating, breeding and wintering habitat for birds like the trumpeter swan, northern pintail, and mallard in eastern Idaho has been targeted.
The Texas Bays, Wetlands, and Prairies II will also get $1 million to enhance 2,885 acres of wetland types and other critical wetland habitats in mid-coast Texas. The project will benefit mottled ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks, fulvous whistling ducks and other species.
The commission also approved $4.2 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 2,200 acres in Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”
Funds raised from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps go toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck Stamps – while required for waterfowl hunters as an annual license – are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of national wildlife refuges who understand the value of preserving some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our nation.
Commitment to Wildlife
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission also received a report on 31 NAWCA small grants, which were approved by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council in March.
Small grants are awarded for smaller projects up to $100,000 to encourage new grantees and partners to carry out smaller-scale conservation work. The commission has authorized the council to approve these projects up to a $5 million. This year, $3 million in grants was matched by $11.1 million in partner funds.
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 6,200 partners in nearly 3,000 projects.
“These public-private grants help uphold President Trump’s important promise to America’s sportsmen and women to preserve our nation’s wildlife and provide access to our public lands for future generations,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Landmark legislation like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has made that possible for all Americans and these treasured natural resources during the past 30 years.”