Last week, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the approval of $160 million in funding for the conservation of critical wetland habitat to benefit migratory waterfowl and other species.
The funding was approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (Commission), which is chaired by Secretary Bernhardt, and includes the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler and the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The Commission also consists of four Members of Congress including Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Senator Martin Heinrich (NM), CSC Vice-Chair John Boozman (AR), and CSC Members Representatives Mike Thompson (CA) and Rob Wittman (VA).
Specifically, the Commission provided $22.1 million under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve more than 160,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats. The $22.1 million in funding will be matched by an additional $50 million from partner organizations – making NAWCA one of the most significant returns on investment in the conservation space. The Commission also approved $47.1 million to conserve 21,259 acres of habitat spanning across six different national wildlife refuges. Furthermore, the Commission approved $40.5 million for 19 projects in Canada and Mexico to ensure the conservation of waterfowl during their migratory cycle. A significant driver of the approved funds is the Federal Duck Stamp Program and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which have provided more than $1.1 billion for habitat conservation since 1934.
“These dollars are from our great conservationists – the hunters and anglers who purchase migratory bird stamps,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “These efforts support local economies and wildlife in numerous ways. As the country continues to reopen, access to outdoor spaces is more important than ever, and we are doing our part to maintain public access and conserve natural habitats.”
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the Commission and the Department of the Interior for approving these critical funds that pay dividends for the conservation of wetlands in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?