Published since 1946
Wetlands Get Boost from FWS, NRCS
Federal agencies are announcing annual funding for critical wetland conservation and restoration programs. On April 27, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that $50.9 million in North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants had been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission; the federal funds will be matched by more than $73.4 million in partner funding for projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In addition, $21.7 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, generated through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, was allocated to conserve land on five national wildlife refuges across four states. The combined $146 million will conserve or restore 242,000 acres of wetland and associated upland bird habitat.
“Wetlands provide many economic, ecological and social benefits to the surrounding communities,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “They also provide important protections from the effects of climate change such as flooding and rising seas. NAWCA grants conserve bird populations and wetland habitat while supporting local economies and outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing and birdwatching.”
In addition, on May 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced $17 million in funding for five Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) projects that prioritize underserved farmers and ranchers. Four of the five projects target forested wetlands and floodplains in the Lower Mississippi River Basin region of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana. Another project by Ducks Unlimited targets enrollment to protect and restore 700 acres of playa wetlands and adjacent upland buffers in the Texas Panhandle.