DOI Distributes $160 Million for Wetlands Conservation

DOI Distributes $160 Million for Wetlands Conservation

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced on May 28 that $160 million in funding was approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission for wetland conservation projects throughout North America. Of the funding, just over $22 million was allocated through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) that will be used for 22 projects to conserve or restore 160,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats in the United States. The NAWCA funding will be matched by approximately $50 million in partner funding. The Commission also approved $40.5 million for 19 wetland conservation projects in Canada and Mexico.

“Wetlands are special places with an exceptional role to play in both the economy and conservation of our magnificent wildlife,” said Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Through these grants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is uniquely placed to not only positively impact wetland conservation, but also further President Trump’s goal to improve access to public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.”

Along with the NAWCA grants, the Commission also approved more than $47.1 million to conserve over 21,000 acres in six national wildlife refuges through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. This program receives its funds through sale of the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, also known as “Duck Stamps,” as well as import duties on imported arms and ammunition. This year, the funds will be used to purchase or lease waterfowl habitat at Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, Felsenthal NWR in Arkansas, Laguna Atascosa and San Bernard NWRs in Texas, Turnbull NWR in Washington, and Waccamaw NWR in South Carolina.

“When it comes to funding wetland and habitat restoration projects, NAWCA and the Duck Stamp are unmatched in their effectiveness,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “With the responsibility of allocating funds for both programs, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission makes the great work DU and our partners are able to accomplish on the ground possible. We thank them for ensuring duck hunters’ dollars are allocated wisely and for enabling us to be the best possible stewards of our nation’s waterfowl habitat.”

June 15, 2020