News Release

September 13, 2013

Grants and Additions to the National Wildlife Refuge System Will Conserve More than 150, 000 Acres of Bird Habitat

Media Contacts:
Rachel Penrod, (703) 358-1894
Laury Parramore, (703) 358-2541

The protection, restoration and enhancement of 157,000 acres of migratory bird habitat was unanimously approved today by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.  As a result, 42,000 acres of waterfowl habitat will be added to the National Wildlife Refuge System through boundary additions and purchases totaling $3.3 million.  An additional 115,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands will be conserved through North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants totaling $21.5 million.

“Wetlands provide not only some of the richest wildlife habitat on Earth, specially for migratory birds, but also clean drinking water, flood control and opportunities for boating, fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation,” said Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who chairs the commission. “By conserving, enhancing and restoring more than 150,000 acres of wetlands, including adding to the National Wildlife Refuge System, we are enriching our country in ways that will be seen for generations to come.”

The $3.3 million approved to acquire refuge land and boundary additions will come from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which consists of proceeds from the sale of Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, popularly known as Duck Stamps, and other funding sources.  Waterfowl hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts can support bird habitat acquisitions by purchasing Federal Duck Stamps.

Twenty-one million dollars in conservation grants to 21 projects in 16 states will also be made available through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act U.S. Standard Grants program.  Partners will match this support with $50 million in leveraged funds.

“Our nation’s migratory birds are facing ever-greater threats from habitat loss and the burgeoning effects of global warming. Protecting these habitats is essential for the long-term survival of key populations of waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds and landbirds,” said Service Director Dan Ashe.

The three commission-approved refuge projects are:
·        Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Dorchester County, Maryland

·        San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, Texas

·        Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Spokane County, Washington

Projects funded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act U.S. Standard Grants Program include:

·        Missouri Coteau Habitat Conservation Project XII, North Dakota - $2,000,000

·        Cedar-Wapsi Valley Wetlands III, Iowa - $1,000,000

·        North Sacramento Valley Wetland Habitat Project VI, California - $1,000,000

For additional details about these projects, visit http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/US/2013_Sept.shtm

In addition to Secretary Jewell, Migratory Bird Conservation Commission members include U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, U.S. Representative John Dingell of Michigan and Representative Robert Wittman of Virginia, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

More information about the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and its U.S. Standard Grants program, including individual summaries of projects announced today, is available at:
http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/US/