Senate introduces bipartisan NAWCA reauthorization to protect U.S. wetlands

Wetland, Nomans Island, Nantucket, MA. -- Fish & WIldlife Service

Wetland, Nomans Island, Nantucket, MA. — FWS,gov

WASHINGTON – April 16, 2013 – In a bipartisan showing, lead co-sponsors Sens. Barbara Boxer (CA) and David Vitter (LA) introduced S. 741 today, asking for the reauthorizations and appropriations of the successful public-private partnerships funded by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

The bill is a straight reauthorization of NAWCA funding of $75 million through FY17.

“This joint effort by the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to reauthorize NAWCA clearly illustrates that it is a model for employing effective partnerships to support shared conservation goals,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “NAWCA is the ideal public-private partnership since it benefits not only hunters and anglers, but all U.S. citizens. It conserves functioning wetlands, thus diminishing floods, preventing soil erosion and improving our water quality.”

NAWCA has benefited the national economy by translating more than $1 billion in federal appropriations over the life of the program into nearly $3.5 billion in additional economic activity. These expenditures have created, on average, nearly 7,500 new jobs (e.g. construction workers, biologists, engineers) annually in the United States, generating more than $200 million in worker earnings each year.

“NAWCA has conserved almost 27 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands since its creation in 1989,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “It’s been so effective that every federally funded dollar is matched by at least three non-federal dollars by states or conservation organizations like DU. We look forward to working with our Hill champions to expeditiously pass this vital conservation legislation.”

Other original co-sponsors include Sens. Max Baucus (MT), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Ben Cardin (MD), Thad Cochran (MS), Chris Coons (DE), Mike Crapo (ID), James Inhofe (OK) and Roger Wicker (MS).

NAWCA conserves North America’s waterfowl, fish and other wildlife resources while producing a variety of environmental and economic benefits. Every federal dollar provided by NAWCA must be matched by at least one dollar from non-federal sources.

Because the program is so effective, NAWCA funds are usually tripled or quadrupled. Since its inception, more than 4,500 partners have been involved in more than 2,200 NAWCA projects across North America.

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