Waterfowl Conservation


NAWCA: The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), passed in 1989, provides matching grants to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As the last reauthorization of NAWCA expired in 2012, the House has introduced legislation in 2017 to reauthorize NAWCA. WATERFOWL STAMP: Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps were established in 1934 and have provided conservation funding to six million acres of waterfowl habitat across the United States. The stamp’s price was raised in 1991 to $15, and in 2014 was raised to $25 with the passage of the Federal Duck Stamp Act. E-DUCK STAMP: Electronic duck stamps are convenient because they can be purchased from a personal computer as opposed to a brick-and-mortar distributor. Following a successful pilot program, support for electronic duck stamps has grown. In 2014, the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp (H.R. 1206) passed, authorizing states to sell duck stamps online.



Enacted in 1989 to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan through cost-sharing, NAWCA provides partnership and challenge grants for conservation projects. The program requires every federal dollar provided through NAWCA to be matched by one dollar from non-federal sources; the program is often matched 3 to 1 by non-federal funding. Grants encourage public-private partnerships to restore wetlands, enhance water availability, reduce soil erosion, and often improve recreational opportunities. With $4.4 billion in grants and matching funds, NAWCA has partnered with over ,5,500 landowners, industries, and state and local governments , provided funding for 2,600 projects in 33.4 million acres across all 50 states, and supported 7,500 workers.

Recent Activity

The North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) member Representative Rob Wittman (VA), reauthorizes NAWCA through fiscal year 2022.On March 22, CSF hosted a Breakfast Briefing on NAWCA. The briefing focused on the successful conservation work NAWCA supports and stressed the importance reauthorizing the act has on continuing those successes. 



Federal duck stamps are annual permits sold to hunt migratory birds and allow entrance to National Wildlife Refuges. Revenues are deposited in the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and later spent to secure wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Nearly one billion dollars has been collected since the federal duck stamp was first required in 1934. The Federal Duck Stamp Office reports that 98 percent of revenues from stamps are deposited in the Fund with the remaining 2 percent used to print and distribute stamps.

Beginning at a price of $1 in 1934, the cost of the federal duck stamp was increased in 1991 to $15, and increased again to $25 in 2014.

Recent Activity

The Federal Duck Stamp Act (H.R. 5069 and S. 2621) amends the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act to increase the price of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps from $15 to $25 to “fund the acquisition of conservation easements for migratory birds.” Sponsored by CSC members Senator David Vitter (LA) and Representative John Fleming (LA), these bills secure additional wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System by increasing Migratory Bird Conservation Fund revenues by $120 million from 2015-2024, according to the Congressional Budget Office.



Since 1934, every hunter over the age of 16 has been required to purchase a federal duck stamp in order to hunt migratory waterfowl. The Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2006 directed the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a pilot program for electronic Federal migratory bird hunting stamps that can be purchased from a personal computer. In December 2014, legislation sponsored by CSC leadership was passed and signed into law. The legislation allows the Department of Interior to authorize states to sell duck stamps online which can be used immediately after purchase, avoiding an unnecessary trip to the Post Office or sporting goods store. 

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