NAWCA 30th Anniversary

30th anniversary image

After the signing of the NAWMP in 1986, federal and state agencies joined with private conservation groups to secure funding dedicated to wetland conservation and restoration. With the help of key legislators like Senator George Mitchell of Maine and Representative Silvio Conte of Massachusetts, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, or NAWCA, was introduced. In 1989, the Senate and House passed NAWCA, and President George H.W. Bush signed this new continental conservation funding mechanism into law on December 12, 1989. President Bush also pledged a new policy of "no net loss of wetlands."

Now 30 years after that historic signing, with help from the Joint Ventures and countless partners, NAWCA's annual federal funding hasn't been simply matched, but doubled and even tripled by state, provincial, NGO, and private partners.  The NAWCA appropriations have helped fuel and support thousands of projects across North America that are focused on wetland conservation and restoration. 

Join us and all those in the wetland, waterfowl, and birding communities in celebrating 30 years of NAWCA!

Want to produce a story of your own to celebrate #NAWCA30? Check out our resources page for materials and pre-written articles you can utilize in your own #NAWCA30 outreach efforts.



30 Years, 30 Million Acres

Created By
Ducks Unlimited


The North American Wetlands Conservation Act continues to be one of the most important and successful conservation programs in history.

People who are passionate about waterfowl and wetlands are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). During the last three decades, more than 6,200 NAWCA partners have conserved over 30 million acres of wetlands and associated habitats, including projects in every state, province, and territory in North America. The benefits for waterfowl and waterfowl enthusiasts have been extraordinary.


Our Continent’s Best-Kept Habitat Conservation Success Secret

Created By
Ducks Unlimited Canada


Its 1991 and Brett Calverley’s green Chevy s10 is bouncing along the dusty grid roads that slice through the knob and kettle landscape of the Buffalo Lake Moraine area of Alberta.  Calverley’s on the hunt for quarter sections (160 acres) of land, fresh to the market.  That land — prime nesting habitat for migrating waterfowl — was in desperate need of saving.

NAWCA: Preserving Working Wet Meadows in SONEC

Created By
Intermountain West Joint Venture

In the Intermountain West, two landscapes stand out for their continental-scale significance to migratory birds: 1) the Great Salt Lake–Bear River watershed, and 2) the Southern Oregon–Northeastern California (SONEC) region. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) program was signed into law in December of 1989 as a new continental conservation funding mechanism and has played a critically important role in these landscapes to catalyze conservation partnerships for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of habitats that sustain millions of birds. In celebrating NAWCA’s 30th Anniversary, the IWJV compiled the following story about the collective impact of NAWCA in one of our two highest priority wetland landscapes.

NAWCA: a proven model for saving North America's birds

By Adam Putnam, Opinion Contributor — 02/25/20 09:30 AM EST
Created By
The Hill / Ducks Unlimited

The first visitors to encounter the new world described skies filled with birds, rivers and bays teeming with activity and marshes loaded with a diverse array of wildlife. As our nation grew at a furious pace over the course of the centuries, a drastic altering of our natural landscape was taking place. By the 1980s, the continental U.S. had lost about 53 percent of its indigenous wetlands, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

NAWCA Turns 30

Created By
Pacific Birds Joint Venture
Almost two hundred projects and counting! #nawca30 translates to a lot of conserved habitat for the Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture partnership. There have been 197 grant awards within the Pacific Birds area of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. That translates to 344,784 acres conserved for birds and other fish and wildlife species–and the people who enjoy them! More than 70,000 of those acres are now part of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Alaska. In Washington, Ducks Unlimited and its project partners are conserving 1,536 acres of freshwater wetlands, estuaries, shorelines, riparian forests, and agricultural lands. But the smaller projects matter too, such as the 30 acres conserved at Botts Marsh in Oregon. No matter the acreage, the end result is the same: migratory and resident birds benefit.

TPWD, Partners Celebrating 30 Years of Wetland Conservation Success

Created By
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
AUSTIN – In December 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA), which was a new continental conservation funding mechanism. Designed to assist the North American Waterfowl Management Plan when waterfowl populations were declining across North America, NAWCA has also benefited many wildlife species and people across the continent. Since its inception, nearly 2,950 NAWCA projects have utilized more than $1.7 billion in federal funds which leveraged $3.6 billion in matching funds and another $1.4 billion in nonmatching funds from nearly 6,200 partners across North America. The first NAWCA grant allocated to Texas was awarded to The Nature Conservancy in 1991 to assist with the development of the Clive Runnells Family Mad Island Marsh Preserve in Matagorda County. Subsequently, various federal, state, and non-profit partners, including Ducks Unlimited, Katy Prairie Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas R.I.C.E., and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have received financial funding to conduct wetland restoration and acquisition across Texas for the benefit of wildlife populations.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Celebrates 30 Years of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Created By
Greeley Tribune

This month, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is celebrating 30 years of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

Signed in December 1989, the act provides financial and other support for wetland-related wildlife species and habitats, according to a news release.

NAWCA supplies grants for conservation projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The grants increase bird populations and wetland habitat, according to the news release. These grants also support hunting, fishing and cattle ranching.

NAWCA has funded over 2,950 projects in the last two decades — $1.73 billion in grants, said the news release.

Colorado’s wetlands have seen $25 million from NAWCA in the last 30 years.

ACE Basin - Celebrating 30 Years of Wetland Preservation

Created By
Atlantic Coast Joint Venture

Celebrate 30 years of two great things - NAWCA and the ACE Basin! 

Named after the three rivers that come together - the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto, ACE Basin was one of the first NAWCA "Flaghshihp" projects awarded in 1989 and is still one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems on the Atlantic Coast.  Learn more about 30 great years of work by partners and impacts of restoration in the ACE Basin.

For the Birds: The North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Created By
The Land Trust Alliance

From TV to music, fashion to politics, everywhere you look, Americans are paying homage to all-things ’80s. From the big hair to the bright colors, the decade that saw the launch of the Land Trust Alliance is now having a sudden rebirth. The same is true of a critical conservation program established during that time, one that all land trusts should be aware of when seeking out important conservation dollars. I’m talking, of course, about the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, or NAWCA for short.

TX Prairie Wetland Restoration

Created By
Gulf Coast Joint Venture

Recipient of a 2019 Conservation Wrangler Award from Texan by Nature, learn about how NAWCA partners like Gulf Coast Joint Venture, DU, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texan by Nature, USFWS, and NRCS in collaboration with private landowners have come together to restore thousands of acres of Gulf Coast wetland habitat.

NAWCA Anniversary Celebrates 30 Years of Protecting Wetlands and Waterfowl

Created By
South Carolina Natural Resources

The acronym “NAWCA” may not ring a bell with the average South Carolinian, but wildlife professionals and waterfowl enthusiasts know it as a landmark piece of funding legislation that has conserved and protected millions of acres of critical wetland habitats in South Carolina and beyond.

In December of 2019 and into 2020, the thirtieth anniversary of “NAWCA” (The North American Wetlands Conservation Act) will be celebrated. If you are a waterfowl hunter or involved with the organization Ducks Unlimited, then you are probably at least somewhat familiar with NAWCA, but the millions of acres of wetlands that have been protected under the Act have also benefited many non-game species, and every single American citizen has a stake in the protection of wetlands.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife celebrates 30 years of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Created By
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department
Colorado Parks and Wildlife celebrates 30 years of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act NAWCA grants increase bird populations and wetland habitat, while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, family farming, and cattle ranching. Wetlands protected by NAWCA provide valuable benefits such as flood control, reducing coastal erosion, improving water and air quality, and recharging groundwater. In the past two decades alone, NAWCA has funded over 2,950 projects totaling $1.73 billion in grants. More than 6,200 partners have contributed another $3.57 billion in matching funds to affect 30 million acres of habitat. Since it began 30 years ago, NAWCA funds have contributed $25 million to Colorado’s wetlands.

AFWA Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Created By

Washington D.C. (December 10, 2019)- The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA). This act provides financial support for waterfowl habitat that also supports a multitude of other wetland-related wildlife species. The NAWCA program is recognized as one of the premiere conservation programs in the world because the successful collaborative partnerships between the state fish and wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, non-governmental organizations, and other partners are key to implementing priority wetland conservation projects.

San Pablo Bay Restoration

Created By
San Francisco Bay Joint Venture

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) we are sharing this video about the transformation happening now in San Pablo Bay, thanks in part to funding provided by NAWCA and the work done to protect wetlands through restoration and other efforts by partners of the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture

FLWCC Newsletter - Protecting our Wetlands

Created By
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

Florida’s wetlands are one of the most iconic parts of our natural landscape. Nearly a fifth of the total wetland area in the United States is found in the sunshine state. Not only do we have a lot of wetland habitat by area, but we have an incredible diversity of wetlands - here you can find coastal and freshwater marshes – including the 1.5 million acre expanse of the Everglades - seepage slopes, wet prairies, cypress domes, steepheads and mangrove swamps.

House passes the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act

Created By
The Wildlife Society

Recent passage of the U.S. House of Representatives passed the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act (H.R. 925) would reauthorize and increase funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which benefits migratory birds and other wildlife.

The bill would authorize up to $60 million for the program annually through 2024 — an increase of about $20 million from recent appropriations.

Celebrating 30 Years of NAWCA!

Created By
Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture

From easement protection of Trinity River bottom land in NE Texas, to emergent wetland restoration in the heart of the MAV, to reforestation across the JV region, NAWCA continues to be an important catalyst for wetland conservation and partnerships in the LMVJV. The impact of NAWCA in facilitating partnership and fueling important wetland conservation in the LMVJV cannot be overstated. Since 1991, NAWCA Standard Grants alone are responsible for the following in the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture:

  • 111 Projects

  • $78,000,000 in grant funds to partners

  • $315,000,000 in partner match

  • 648,000 acres of wetland conservation

  • All through hundreds of partners

Eden Landing Restoration

Created By
San Francisco Bay Joint Venture

This is part of San Francisco Bay Joint Venture's video shorts campaign and in celebration of NAWCA's 30th anniversary (#NAWCA30), where we strive to share the good news about the amazing work being done around the Bay Area to protect wetlands through restoration and other efforts by partners of the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture.

EHJV 30 Years Conserving Wetlands in Eastern Canada

Created By
Eastern Habitat Joint Venture

Sackville, NB, 29 November 2019—Canada’s Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (EHJV) is celebrating 30 years of wetland conservation in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canada is home to 25 percent of the world’s wetlands and 39 per cent of those wetlands are within the EHJV’s borders. Wetlands are among the most productive and fascinating ecosystems on the planet. They are home to birds and other wildlife species such as reptiles and fish, and provide recreational opportunities such as birding, hiking and other activities.

Celebrating 30 Years of NAWCA!

Created By
Upper Mississippi/Great Lakes Joint Venture

By Doug Gorby | November 26th, 2019

December 2019 kicks off the 30th anniversary of NAWCA! This important source of funding for wetland conservation was born of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and is closely tied to the function and success of the Joint Ventures. During the 30th anniversary year, partners across the US will be highlighting project success stories made possible with NAWCA. This video on Pickerel Creek in Ohio highlights one of the early projects done with NAWCA and was among the first of many great NAWCA projects to occur in the Upper Mississippi / Great Lakes Joint Venture.

30 Years of Advancing Habitat NAWCA

Created By
North Dakota Game and Fish


Authors and Contributors Craig Bihrle

In the last 30 years, North American waterfowl populations have increased substantially.

No doubt one of the contributing factors is NAWCA – the North American Wetlands Conservation Act – passed by Congress and signed by President George H. W. Bush on December 9, 1989.

The NAWCA gave a major lift to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, established in 1986 between the governments of the United States and Canada (Mexico joined the effort in 1994) to address a long-term continental waterfowl decline. It provided a source of federal matching dollars for worthy projects designed to improve wetland habitats on a large enough scale to make a difference.

Conservation dollars on the ground

Created By
The Land Trust Alliance

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act, or NAWCA, turns 30 this year. "It's all about partnerships," says Wendy Jackson, executive vice president of the Land Trust Alliance, who serves on the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. The matching grants program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, helps migratory birds and other wetland wildlife in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The accredited New Mexico Land Conservancy (link is external) received a NAWCA grant in 2018 to restore and protect more than 3,500 acres of land in the heart of the southern shortgrass prairie in northeastern New Mexico.