After facing elimination of funding in the House-passed version of the current year’s legislation to pay for the federal government, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act is poised to receive $37.5 million in funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year. A vote is expected later this week. For more than 20 years, NAWCA has served as a bipartisan, cost-effective way to conserve vital wetlands across the nation. For every dollar invested in the program, an average of 3.2 additional dollars is raised to match the federal share by non-federal entities.
“Many Ducks Unlimited supporters are pitching in to convey to Congress NAWCA’s positive impact on both conservation efforts and our nation’s economy,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “I’m glad to see NAWCA received funding for the rest of this fiscal year and that DU’s efforts were somewhat successful. We must continue to educate Congress in order to obtain funds for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Partners in bird conservation are playing a role in outreach efforts by expressing their support for this valuable program,” Hall said. “Together we are demonstrating that if enough supporters of wildlife conservation speak up, Congress will listen.
“Ducks Unlimited members understand that tough budget decisions need to be made in order to reduce the deficit, but it is equally important that programs that truly pay for themselves, such as conservation programs, are properly funded. While I am disappointed that NAWCA received less funding than it did last year, I commend Congress for understanding the importance of this program and the economic benefits it provides.”
Scott Sutherland, director of DU’s Governmental Affairs Office, was pleased about the NAWCA funding, “especially after Congress initially threatened to eliminate all congressional funding.” Sutherland acknowledged DU should be proud of the work done to help restore NAWCA funding, but he also warned, “We shouldn’t celebrate this development for too long. The need to offset massive habitat loss far outstrips the ability of NAWCA to keep up. We have to remember that due to the match, for every dollar cut in this program, it means that the ducks lose nearly four dollars worth of habitat conservation.”
In order to ensure NAWCA’s funding is not eliminated in FY 2012, Ducks Unlimited is conducting a campaign to highlight the importance of NAWCA’s conservation efforts and its economic benefits.
For more information on NAWCA and other Ducks Unlimited public policy efforts, visit http://www.ducks.org/conservation/public-policy.
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest nonprofit 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.