The House of Representatives recently passed a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) at $60 million a year until 2024. This legislation, H.R. 925, led by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) and Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), is vitally important for the continuation of this grant-based wetlands conservation program. NAWCA is the nation’s most successful wetlands conservation program.
“We’d like to thank everyone who supported the passage of this vital piece of conservation legislation out of the House, especially Representatives Thompson and Wittman for sponsoring the bill,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “NAWCA is a cornerstone program for DU’s conservation work across North America and its reauthorization would allow us to continue pivotal wetlands and waterfowl habitat improvements.”
NAWCA is a voluntary matching grant program that leverages non-federal and federal funds for on-the-ground wetland restoration efforts. Since enactment in 1989, NAWCA has conserved more than 30 million acres while also creating 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.
“Across our nation, wetlands are home to some of our most beautiful open spaces and an incredible variety of species and it’s critical to preserve these habitats. That’s why today I was proud to see the House pass my bill to reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a bill to conserve our wetlands, which will in turn safeguard our water supplies and protect against flooding,” said Rep. Thompson. “We know that NAWCA investments work – over the past 30 years, $1.6 billion in Federal funding has been matched three to one. This investment has conserved nearly 30 million acres, which is a tremendous ecological and economic benefit for everyone. I will continue fighting to ensure this bill passes the Senate and becomes law.”
NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting Ducks Unlimited’s mission, from restoring wetlands that have been altered and enhancing water availability, to reducing soil erosion and the likelihood of floods. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, like hunting and bird watching.
“Washington should be doing more to identify those federal programs, like NAWCA, that have proven to be successful,” said Rep. Wittman. “The North American Wetlands Conservation Act works to reduce wetlands disappearance and conserve migratory bird habitat; protecting, restoring, and managing wetland habitats is important, and it is critical that we invest efficiently to conserve these areas for the use and enjoyment of future generations. I want to thank Ducks Unlimited for the important role they play in conserving migratory bird habitat. I am thrilled to see this legislation pass the House today and hope for its quick consideration in the Senate.”
Ducks Unlimited looks forward to working with the Senate to see this important legislation through to final passage.
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.