Interior announces over $50.6M for wetland conservation, wildlife refuge

Sept. 20, 2023
Funding approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission will help to conserve, restore, or enhance roughly 106,600 acres of wetlands and associated habitats.

The Department of the Interior announced that more than $50.6 million in funding has been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, providing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve, restore or enhance more than 106,600 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across the United States.

The Commission approved more than $39.4 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants that will be matched by more than $74.1 million in partner funds. In addition, the Commission approved $11.24 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve land on two national wildlife refuges.

“Wetlands provide migratory birds valuable stopover sites for resting, nesting and breeding. They also support biodiversity, help with water quality and protect coastal communities from flooding and rising seas,” said Service Director Martha Williams.

NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1989, funding has advanced the conservation of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico, while engaging more than 6,800 partners in over 3,300 projects. Through NAWCA, federal funds are typically leveraged at twice the legally required dollar-for-dollar non-federal match-to-grant ratio.

The new NAWCA funding approved today will benefit 12 Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species, as well as 78 species listed as Birds of Conservation Concern, which helps prevent species from being listed.

The Commission also received a report on 22 NAWCA small grants, which were approved by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council in February 2023. Small grants are awarded for projects up to $100,000 to encourage new grantees and partners to carry out smaller-scale conservation work. The Commission has authorized the Council to approve these projects up to $5 million. This year, more than $2 million in grants was matched by $6.1 million in partner funds.

More information on these NAWCA grants is available on the Service’s website.