WASHINGTON--More than 4.3 million acres of wetlands in the United States and Canada will be protected, enhanced and managed with the help of more than $21.2 million in new federal funding, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior David Verhey announced today.
The funding, which is authorized under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, was made available on June 13 by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. It will support projects to conserve wetlands and associated habitats for the benefit of migratory waterfowl and other birds throughout the continent.
“One of the greatest strengths of this program is its range-wide approach to conservation,” said Verhey, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. "Waterfowl making their long migration throughout North America don’t care whether a wetland is in Canada, the United States or Mexico. This program invests in important wetland habitat located in all these countries and benefits the birds throughout their journey.”
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act encourages public-private partnerships to protect, enhance, restore, and manage wetlands and other habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife resources in North America.
Nearly $18 million was approved under the law’s Standard Grants Program to support 8 conservation projects in 12 Canadian provinces. Combined with an additional $18 million in partner matching funds, these projects will secure more than 84,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands, enhance nearly 59,000 acres, and manage an additional 4.2 million acres of wetlands.
In addition, more than $3.2 million will support 51 projects in 29 U.S. states under the law’s Small Grants Program. Partners in these projects are contributing an additional $10.6 million in matching funds to help conserve more than 20,000 acres of habitat. The grants are financed by annual Congressional appropriations; fines, penalties and forfeitures under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; interest accrued to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Fund.
The Migratory Bird Commission also approved the use of $250,000 under the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund for acquisition of 156 acres of resting and feeding habitat to benefit several waterfowl species at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Franklin County, Vermont. The fund receives revenue from Duck Stamp sales, import duties on firearms and ammunition, and right-of-way payments to the refuge system. In addition, three national wildlife refuges in Mississippi, Montana and Utah received funding to extend their leases on existing Refuge lands containing wetland habitat.
The Commission meets three times a year and includes Senators Thad Cochran and Blanche Lincoln, Representative John Dingell, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne serving as Chairman. Acting Assistant Secretary Verhey represented Secretary Kempthorne at the June 13 meeting.
Additional information about the Act can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Website at http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/index.shtm.
Summary Table Fact Sheet: http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/files/