WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior announced today that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved more than $31 million in grants, which will conserve or restore 116,305 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 18 states. The grants, awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), will be matched with more than $60 million in partner funding.
In addition, the Commission, chaired by Secretary Deb Haaland, approved more than $13 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve land in seven national wildlife refuges in seven states. The acquisitions will expand public opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and outdoor recreational access.
“Wetland and upland habitats provide many economic, ecological and social benefits, while also serving as critical safeguards against the worsening effects of climate change, including flooding and sea level rise. The investments we make today will help conserve bird populations, support outdoor recreation economies, and keep habitats whole and connected,” he said. Secretary Haland. “These projects are great examples of the work we are accomplishing through the Biden-Harris Administration. America the BEAUTIFUL initiative, which supports locally designed and led conservation efforts and restoration approaches.”
Partners in NAWCA projects include private landowners, state and local governments, conservation organizations, sports groups, tribes, land trusts, and corporations. A database of approved projects is available online by typing ‘2023’ in the ‘Window Year’ text field.
Funding to conserve 9,610 acres for seven national wildlife refuges through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund was derived primarily from the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Conservation and Game Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps, and fees from import of weapons and ammunition. Since 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp Program has provided more than $1.1 billion for habitat conservation in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
While Duck Stamps are required as an annual license by waterfowl hunters, anyone can contribute to conservation by purchasing them. A current federal duck stamp is also a pass to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee. Because almost all profits are used to conserve habitat for birds and other wildlife, Duck Stamps are purchased by outdoor enthusiasts, including bird watchers and nature photographers, to help preserve some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our country.
These funds will be used to purchase waterfowl habitats in the following national wildlife refuges:
- Bear River Watershed Conservation Area in Idaho and Utah – $5,171,000 to acquire 4,631 acres.
- Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee – $866,448 to acquire 182 acres.
- Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon – $4,770,000 to acquire 3,179 acres.
- Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee – $455,577 to acquire 88 acres.
- Neches River National Wildlife Refuge in Texas – $1,079,700 to acquire 360 acres.
- Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Washington – $690,000 to acquire 209 acres.
- Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge in Maine – $1,690.00 to acquire 961 acres.
The Commission also received a report on 30 NAWCA small grants, which were approved by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council in March 2022. Small grants are awarded for projects of up to $100,000 to encourage new grantees and partners to carry out conservation work on a smaller scale. The Commission has authorized the council to approve these projects for up to $5 million. This year, $2.7 million in grants were matched with $6 million in partner funds.
Members of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan; US Senators John Boozman from Arkansas and Martin Heinrich from New Mexico; and US Representatives Mike Thompson of California and Robert J. Wittman of Virginia. The Commission has helped conserve much of the nation’s most important waterfowl habitat and establish or enhance many of the nation’s most popular hunting and waterfowl-watching destinations.
NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1989, funding has advanced the conservation of wetland habitats and wildlife in all 50 US states, Canada and Mexico, while engaging more than 6,700 partners in more than 3,200 projects. Through the NAWCA, federal funds are generally leveraged at twice the legally required dollar-for-dollar ratio of non-federal grant-equivalent funds.
Additional information on North American wetlands and migratory bird conservation can be found online, where waterfowl enthusiasts, biologists, and agency managers can find the most up-to-date information on the habitat and population of migratory birds. waterfowl.