Senator Collins Joins Bipartisan Group in Introducing Legislation to Restore Wetlands and Migratory Bird Habitat

“Over the past three decades, NAWCA grants have helped conserve millions of acres of wetlands across the country, including more than one million acres through nearly 100 separate projects in Maine.”

Washington, D.C. – On the 30th anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing legislation to reauthorize NAWCA through 2024. The legislation would also increase authorized annual funding for the program to $60 million. 

 

“Over the past three decades, NAWCA grants have helped conserve millions of acres of wetlands across the country, including more than one million acres through nearly 100 separate projects in Maine,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation to reauthorize NAWCA helps preserve, restore, and manage wetlands while providing a variety of economic benefits. Wetlands provide critical habitat for a variety of birds, fish, and other animals, and they also offer recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts in Maine and throughout the country.”

 

NAWCA was originally enacted in 1989 to provide federal cost-share funding—in partnership with funding from state and local governments, private industry, and non-profit organizations like Ducks Unlimited—to projects that conserve North America’s waterfowl, fish, and wildlife resources.

 

Maine has 99 NAWCA projects either completed or underway.  These projects have conserved 1,038,183 acres of wildlife habitat. 

 

Wetlands secure freshwater supplies, recharge aquifers, and mitigate soil erosion and flooding disasters. In addition, waterfowl, migratory birds, fish, and mammals that depend on wetlands support multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and photography. NAWCA funding has been critical to acquiring, restoring, and enhancing this habitat in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico. In total, nearly 3,000 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation and restoration of nearly 30 million acres of habitat all across North America.

 

NAWCA has provided a great return on investment, generating, on average, three additional dollars for every federal dollar. Over the program’s history, federal grants totaling more than $1.6 billion have spurred $4.68 billion for NAWCA projects through matching and nonmatching funds. NAWCA funds have also supported an average of 7,500 jobs each year and more than $5 billion in annual economic activity.

 

Senators Collins was joined by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Kennedy (R-LA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Udall (D-NM), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Jon Tester (D-MT). Companion legislation was introduced in the House, led by U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA).

 

A copy of the bill is available here