House passes the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act

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 its 30th anniversary this month, NAWCA is the only federal grant program exclusively focused on conserving wetlands and other migratory bird habitats. Since its inception in 1989, the program has worked with 6,200 partners on nearly 3,000 projects in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. More than $1.73 billion in federal grants has leveraged $3.57 billion in matching funds from local and state partners.

In September, the latest installment of NAWCA grants was announced, providing $23.9 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 150,000 acres of wetland and associated uplands for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 20 states. These grants will be matched by more than $72 million in partner funds.

The Senate version of the NAWCA extension bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, but no hearings have been held. The Wildlife Society supported NAWCA extension in the 116th Congress and joined with partner organizations in August to write to the leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee supporting this and other legislation.