June 24, 2019

Department of the Interior Approves $78 Million for Wetland Conservation Projects

On June 19, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the approval of $78 million in funding for wetland conservation projects by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission is chaired by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and is an advisory group that considers and approves any areas of land or water that are recommended by the Secretary to be purchased or rented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS). Currently serving on the Commission is Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Senator Martin Heinrich (NM), CSC Vice-Chair Senator John Boozman (AR), and CSC Members Representatives Mike Thompson (CA) and Rob Wittman (VA), as well as Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

This approval provided $29.4 million for the USFWS to conserve wetland habitat across 22 states spanning more than 205,000 acres. The approved funds will be matched by $77 million in partner funds.

Much of the funds that were approved by DOI are the result of monies generated by Federal Duck Stamps purchased by hunters. On average, 98 cents of every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps goes directly back into conducting on-the-ground conservation projects. 

This funding also coincides with the 30th Anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA); a federal program that provides partnership and challenge grants for wetland conservation projects.

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?

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