BHA Supports Legislation to Extend, Increase Funding for Wetland Conservation

For Immediate Release                   

Mar. 27, 2024

Contact: Thomas Plank, 303-720-0111 [email protected]

Legislation to Extend, Increase Funding for Wetland Conservation

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  As the leading voice for the conservation of public lands, waters, and wildlife, today Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) applauded the bipartisan introduction of the North American Wetland Conservation Extension Act (S. 4048) in the United States Senate.

Introduced by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), this legislation would reauthorize the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA), continuing one of our nation’s most successful conservation programs through fiscal year 2028. It would also increase authorized funding for NAWCA from $60 million to $65 million annually.

“One of the most celebrated conservation programs in modern history, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, or NAWCA, is responsible for the protection of more than 30 million acres of wetlands. NAWCA has produced demonstrable, on-the-ground results for conservation of waterfowl habitat, which, in turn, has contributed to population increases for this particular group of birds in contrast to the decline of all other groups in the last half century,” said Patrick Berry, BHA President and CEO. “We want to thank Sen. Heinrich and Sen. Kennedy for their recognition of the NAWCA’s importance, and leadership to extend and increase funding for the program through the North American Wetland Conservation Extension Act.” 

Original cosponsors of the legislation include Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The introduction of this legislation follows closely behind the president’s fiscal year 2025 budget, which included a significantly reduced funding request for NAWCA of $33 million. This amount is $16 million less than the previous amount appropriated by Congress and a 34% decrease from the president’s request for the previous fiscal year.

In addition to calling for the reauthorization of NAWCA and an increase of available funding, BHA further urges Congress to appropriate the current authorized level of funding, above and beyond the president’s budget request. NAWCA is an invaluable program for conserving waterfowl habitat, and these proposed cuts disregard the value of wetlands for fish and wildlife across North America.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.

About Thomas Plank

Communications Manager for BHA

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