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NAWCA and Ducks Unlimited

NAWCA Future in Jeopardy - Take Action Today!
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  • photo by Billy Houghton
  • photo by Cameron McGahan
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Action Alert!

Contact your representative and senators to voice your support for reauthorization of the NAWCA program!

The NAWCA program funding expired in September 2012, jeopardizing 22 years of progress restoring waterfowl and wetland habitat.


NAWCA Overview

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act conserves North America's waterfowl, fish and wildlife resources while producing a variety of environmental and economic benefits. Its success is driven by partnerships involving federal, state and local governments; nonprofit organizations like DU and community groups. 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 on the local level. More than $1 billion in federal grants has been allocated for NAWCA projects – a figure that has leveraged an additional $3 billion from matching and non-matching funds. Since its inception, more than 2,000 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of almost 27 million acres of habitat across North America.


NAWCA's History

NAWCA was enacted in 1989 and provides federal cost-share funding to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. NAWCA is a non-regulatory, incentive-based, voluntary wildlife conservation program. Both Houses unanimously reauthorized NAWCA in September 2006. The appropriation authorization for NAWCA was increased to $75 million for FY 2007 through FY 2012. Funding for NAWCA expired in September 2012.

NAWCA stimulates public-private partnerships to protect, restore, and manage wetland habitats for a diversity of migratory birds and other wildlife. NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting the DU mission, from restoring wetlands that have been altered, and enhancing water availability, to reducing soil erosion and the likelihood of floods. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, from bird watching to hunting.

NAWCA provides challenge grants for wetlands conservation projects in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Every $1 of federal money allotted to NAWCA must be matched by $1 or more from non-federal sources like Ducks Unlimited, or state fish and wildlife agencies. Because this program is so effective, funds are often tripled or quadrupled at the local level.

In Washington, D.C., the Ducks Unlimited Governmental Affairs staff works with Congress in support of annual funding for NAWCA so we can keep building on the Act's waterfowl conservation success.

To date, NAWCA has helped fund more than 2,000 projects on almost 27 million acres in all 50 states, areas of Canada and areas of Mexico. More than 4,000 partners, including private landowners, industry and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants. Learn about NAWCA in your state.

Other resources:
NAWCA fact sheet (PDF)
NAWCA application materials
NAWCA State Fact Sheets

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