Government funding legislation prioritizes conservation programs
The U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to fund the federal government, including funding for several critical conservation programs. Most notably, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) – one of DU’s highest-priority programs – received record funding at $50 million.
“Record funding for NAWCA is a home run for the nation’s most successful wetlands conservation program,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “DU and our partners have worked with this Congress from start to finish to ensure critical conservation programs, like NAWCA, remained a priority, and this year-end funding reflects that. We appreciate our legislator friends from both parties who recognize the immense value of conservation, and we look forward to transitioning these dollars to the landscape for the benefit of wildlife, people and our environment.”
NAWCA is a voluntary matching grant program that leverages non-federal and federal funds for wetland restoration. Since enactment in 1989, NAWCA has conserved more than 30 million acres and created an average of 7,500 new jobs annually. Every dollar spent by the federal government, on average, receives a $3 match from program partners like Ducks Unlimited. Further demonstrating the effectiveness of investments made by wetlands programs like NAWCA, the recent State of the Birds report revealed widespread losses of birds in all habitats – except wetlands.
The legislation also includes the Charitable Conservation Easement Integrity Act, which stops the abuse of syndicated conservation easements and reserves deductions for true charitable conservation purposes. Also included were important policy provisions from the Growing Climate Solutions Act and the Sponsoring USDA Sustainability Targets in Agriculture to Incentivize Natural Solutions (SUSTAINS) Act.
Notable conservation programs to receive funding:
North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) – $50 million
Partners for Fish and Wildlife – $60.2 million
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) – $368 million
Delaware River Basin Conservation Act – $11.5 million
Chesapeake Bay Program – $92 million
Chesapeake WILD Program – $8 million
North American Waterfowl Management Plan/Joint Venture Programs – $16.8 million
National Wildlife Refuge System – $541.5 million
State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Programs – $73.8 million
Assistance to rice producers – $250 million
NRCS conservation operations – $941.1 million
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.