Wetland Conservation Grants Approved, But Will There Be Funding?

Wetland Conservation Grants Approved, But Will There Be Funding?
NAWCA Grants Hanging in the Budget Balance.

Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited

RIDGELAND, Miss –-(Ammoland.com)- The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently awarded seven grants for projects that will restore and protect vital waterfowl habitat across the Southeast.

The grants are being awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), which is a cost-effective, bipartisan, match-based program that has raised an average of 3.2 non-federal dollars for every federal dollar invested.

“Though the MBCC has approved these grants, Congress must still authorize funding for NAWCA in order for the projects to move forward,” Director of Operations for DU’s Southern Region Curtis Hopkins explained.

“In the Southeast, the approved grants would enhance more than 27,500 acres, including projects in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Missouri and Texas.”

Every dollar of federal money allotted to NAWCA must be matched by one or more dollars from non-federal sources such as Ducks Unlimited, state fish and wildlife agencies, businesses, or private landowners. Because this program is so effective, funds are often tripled or quadrupled at the local level. The seven grants in the Southeast represent a NAWCA investment of $6.8 million and a partner investment of $24.5 million, a leveraging rate of more than 3.5 times private to federal funds.

“Clearly, the investment of NAWCA funds is an extremely effective and fiscally efficient tool for conservation,” Hopkins said.

Since NAWCA’s inception in 1989, more than 2,067 projects have contributed to the conservation of more than 26 million acres of habitat across North America. While NAWCA is a strongly supported and highly effective program, it is currently facing deep budget cuts in Congress for fiscal year 2012. The House has proposed cutting NAWCA funding by up to $14 million from its fiscal year 2011 level. A funding cut of this proportion could seriously jeopardize the program’s ability to conserve prime waterfowl habitat.

“Reducing the deficit and ensuring that our nation is financially secure are actions that Ducks Unlimited supports,” DU Director of Governmental Affairs Scott Sutherland said. “However, especially in a time of tight budgets, Congress should support programs that provide good value and bring significant income to local communities, businesses and state and federal treasuries. NAWCA is one of those programs.”

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 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.

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