USFWS announces wetlands and migratory bird grants

By Laura Bies

Ruddy Turnstone. Aaron Maizlish

This year’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act will provide more than $4.8 million in federal funding matched by more than $21 million from partners. The funding will support 34 conservation projects in 20 countries.

The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act provides funding for neotropical migratory bird conservation and research throughout the Western Hemisphere. At least three quarters of NMBCA funding each year is dedicated to projects that conserve habitat and protect birds in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Wildlife Society supports funding for NMBCA through the appropriations process each year.

This year, funded projects include $100,000 for a conservation easement on the Elk Mountain Ranch in northwest Colorado, which will permanently protect more than 600 acres of ranchland where over 50 species of neotropical migrants have been reported. It also includes $200,000 for the protection of 13,000 acres in the Mar Chiquita area of central Argentina, which will benefit American golden plovers (Pluvialis dominica), lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) and pectoral sandpipers (Calidris melanotos).

The Service also separately announced $160 million in funding for wetland conservation projects in North America, which the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved.

Under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, $22.1 million will go to the Service and its partners within the United States for 22 projects in 15 states. Those projects will conserve or restore more than 160,000 acres of wetland and associated uplands for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds. Partners will provide an additional $50 million in matching grants.

Projects receiving funding through NAWCA include restoration of 3,322 acres of wetlands on the central and northeastern coast of North Carolina, acquisition of 16,311 acres around the Gulf of Maine and the conservation of 3,657 acres of wetlands and grasslands in the prairie potholes region. The commission also approved $40.5 million for 19 projects in Canada and Mexico.

In addition, the commission approved more than $47.1 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to purchase or lease a total of 21,259 acres of waterfowl habitat at six national wildlife refuges. The funding comes from the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps — or “Duck Stamps” — and import duties on imported arms and ammunition. The habitat conserved through these grants will be added to public use and hunt programs at six National Wildlife Refuges around the country:

  • Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, $1,907,936 for 2,385 acres
  • Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, $18,409,582 for 9,276 acres
  • Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, $6,500,000 for 3,361 acres
  • San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, $13,570,000 for 4,679 acres
  • Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Washington, $1,771,000 for 786 acres
  • Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina, $5,000,000 for 772 acres
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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