Interior announces nearly $80 million in grants for wetlands conservation

By Laura Bies

Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge in Maine is one of the recipients of funding recently announced by the Department of the Interior. Credit: Katherine Whittemore/USFWS

Nearly $80 million in grants money will go to conservation and restoration of wetland and associated upland habitats across North America, the U.S. Department of Interior recently announced.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved $78 million in grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). That money will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners for the conservation and restoration of nearly 500,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds throughout North America. The grants will be matched by nearly $125 million in partner funds.

The projects that will receive funding under the grants include:

  • Continental Marsh Enhancement in Louisiana — $1 million for habitat restoration within the Terrebonne and Pontchartrain basins of coastal Louisiana
  • Southwest Crown Wetland Conservation in Montana — $1 million for conservation and restoration of 3,879 acres on public and private lands in the Swan River watershed of southwestern Montana
  • Wetlands Conservation in Pennsylvania — $1 million for the restoration of 1,078 acres of wetland and 104 acres grassland habitat in north central Pennsylvania

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission also approved $1.8 million in funding from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve over 2,000 acres of waterfowl habitat in three national wildlife refuges for public use and hunt programs. This funding came primarily from the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps, and from import duties on imported arms and ammunition.

The funding will be used for the following acquisitions:

  • Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina ($525,000 for 70 acres of wetlands and surrounding uplands)
  • Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey ($94,000 for 171 acres of tidal and freshwater marsh)
  • Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge in Maine ($1,267,700 for 1,811 acres of wetlands and surrounding uplands)

Since its inception in 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp Program has provided more than $1.1 billion for habitat conservation in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Wildlife Society regularly advocates for authorization and funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which is subject to annual appropriations by Congress. The Wildlife Society has also supported the use of the Duck Stamp to fund wetland and waterfowl habitat conservation.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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