Last week, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) until 2022. This legislation, H.R. 1099, was led by Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) and Mike Thompson (D-CA-05).
“Reauthorizing NAWCA is a smart, cost-effective way to ensure on-the-ground wetlands conservation happens in some of the most critical areas for wetlands and waterfowl in this county,” said Margaret Everson, chief policy officer for Ducks Unlimited. “I want to thank Representatives Wittman and Thompson for their continued leadership and support of the NAWCA program and for introducing this important piece of conservation legislation.”
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 33.4 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 such as Ducks Unlimited.
“Washington should be doing more to identify those federal programs that have proven successful,” said Rep. Wittman. “NAWCA is certainly one of these programs, having leveraged more than $3 billion in matching funds from conservation partners since its enactment in 1989. Protecting, restoring, and managing wetland habitat is a productive endeavor, and it is critical that we invest efficiently to conserve our natural areas for the use and enjoyment of future generations.”
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, from bird watching to hunting.
“The North American Wetlands Conservation Act works and Congress should make sure it gets the funds it needs to remain successful,” said Rep. Thompson. “It allows us to preserve important wetlands, protect wildlife and habitat and conserve natural treasures for our kids and grandkids to enjoy. I look forward to working with Congressman Wittman to pass this bipartisan bill so the NAWCA can remain strong for years to come.”
RELATED: U.S. House Passes Outdoor REC Act