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Wetlands Act Funds 500th Project, Land Added to National Wildlife Refuges in Three States


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 3, 2004

Contact:
Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5634



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved $15.8 million for habitat conservation to benefit migratory birds, including its 500th project. At the same time, the Commission also approved the acquisition of more than 370 acres of important migratory bird habitat to be added to the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The MBCC's action today in Washington will fund grants to states and other partners through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), to meet important habitat goals for migratory birds. The Commission's 500th NAWCA wetland conservation project will conserve over 6,000 acres in Nebraska. The commission also allocated revenue from the sale of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) to purchase key tracts of land for the Service's National Wildlife Refuge System in New Jersey and Louisiana.

"President Bush's support for wetlands conservation was clearly evident when he approved the reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, renewing that commitment and supporting increased funding through this outstanding public-private partnership program," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "Wetlands provide excellent habitat for wildlife, and provide millions of Americans with a broad range of outdoor recreational opportunities."

Working with Partners to Conserve Wetlands

The NAWCA grants totaling $15.8 million, will fund 17 projects in the United States to protect or restore more than 270,000 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitats in 13 states. Project partners added a total of $75.9 million.

The U.S. based projects are in the States of Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, and North Carolina.

Throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada, the Standard Grant Program has invested nearly $600 million through the Act ,and partners have contributed nearly $1.7 billion. The partners have restored and protected approximately 20.6 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands.

Since the NAWCA U.S. Standard Grant program began in 1990, more than $340 million in Federal funds has been matched with $857 million in partner funds for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated uplands needed by waterfowl and other migratory birds in the United States.

The Commission also approved more than $482,000 for three projects in four Mexican states. Partners added more than $583,000.

"Since many of North America's waterfowl species are dependent on wintering habitat in Mexico, it is important that we use our NAWCA funds to conserve habitat there as well," said Service Director Steve Williams. "For every federal dollar provided though this program nearly $3 more are made available by partners, and that speaks volumes about the success this program has had since it was created."

Funding for this program comes from Congressional appropriations, funds collected from fines, penalties, and forfeitures under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, interest accrued to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, and from excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act.

Federal Duck Stamp Revenues for Conservation

"Sportsmen and women have contributed a great deal to the development of the National Wildlife Refuge System," Norton said. "Money raised by the sale of Federal Duck Stamps pays for these land acquisitions. Since the first Duck Stamp sale in 1934, about $675 million has been raised to purchase more than five million acres of wetlands for the refuge system."

The Commission also approved more than $289,000 in Federal Duck Stamp funds to acquire land for the National Wildlife Refuge System. All acquisitions were previously approved by the affected states.

New National Wildlife Refuge System acquisitions approved by the Conservation Commission are:

  • New Jersey: Acquisition of 47.4 acres to preserve salt marsh for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, woodcock and neotropical migrants within the boundaries of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge in Cape May County.
  • Louisiana: Acquisition of 6.3 acres to protect bottomland hardwood forest and swamps for migratory and wintering waterfowl within the boundaries of Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge in Avoyelles Parish.
  • Louisiana: Acquisition of 320 acres of habitat for migratory waterfowl within the boundaries of Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Red River Parish.

"The Commission turns 75 this year," Norton added. "More than 75 years ago, conservationists realized habitat was very important for wildlife. They created the Federal Duck Stamp and this Commission to protect wetlands for migratory waterfowl."

The Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 established the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to approve land to be purchased for the National Wildlife Refuge System with monies from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. The fund is supported by revenue collected from Federal Duck Stamp sales, import duties collected on arms and ammunition, right-of-way payments to the refuge system, and receipts from national wildlife refuge entry fees. For more information about the Federal Duck Stamp program please visit <http://duckstamps.fws.gov>.

The Commission meets three times a year to approve funding proposals. Permanent Commission members are Interior Secretary Norton, Senators Thad Cochran and John Breaux; Representatives John Dingell and Curt Weldon; Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman; and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt. For more information on NAWCA, please see <http://birdhabitat.fws.gov/NAWCA/grants.htm>.

Description of approved NAWCA projects include:

  • The MBCC's 500th project provides $1 million for the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture and its partners with matching funds of nearly $1.4 million for the Rainwater Basin Habitat Conservation Project, which will conserve 6,119 acres in South Central Nebraska.
  • The Trailsend Ranch and its partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of nearly $2.4 million for the Beaverhead Wetland Protection Project, Phase III. It will conserve nearly 8,000 acres of wetlands in Southwest Montana.
  • Several Federal, State, and local agencies along with other non-profit and private partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of $3 million for the Channeled Scablands Focus Area Project, Phase II. It will conserve 1,234 acres of wetlands in Eastern Washington.
  • BP/Amoco and its partners will receive $334,000 with matching funds of more than $1 million for the Chenier Plain Coastal Wetlands Conservation B White Lake Preserve Habitat Protection Project, which will conserve 71,130 acres of coastal marsh in South Central Louisiana.
  • The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and its partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of more than $3.5 million for the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Project, Phase II, which will conserve 1,098 acres of wetlands in Eastern Illinois.
  • Several State, non-profit, and other private partners will receive $929,952 with matching funds of nearly $4.5 million for the Glaciated Valleys of Northwestern Montana Project. It will conserve more than 2,700 acres of wetlands in the Flathead Lake region of Montana.
  • Several Federal, State, non-profit organizations and other private partners will receive $980,627 with matching funds of more than $4.5 million for a project known as Grasslands V B San Luis NWR Complex, which will protect nearly 5,000 acres of wetlands in central California.
  • Garfield DeMarco and partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of more than $23 million for a project called Heart of the Pine Barrens that will conserve 9,400 acres of habitat in central New Jersey.
  • The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and its partners will receive $1 million with nearly $3 million in matching funds the Lower Obion River Project, Phase 11, which will conserve 1,897 acres of wetlands in West Tennessee.
  • The Nature Conservancy and its partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of nearly $5.5 million for the North Carolina Onslow Bight Partnership Project, which will conserve 13,867 acres of wetland habitat in Southeast North Carolina.
  • Platte River Basin Environments, Inc. and its partners will receive $855,000 with matching funds of more than $2 million for the North Platte Basin Project that will conserve 1,257 acres of habitat in West Central Nebraska.
  • The California Wildlife Conservation Board and its partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of nearly $2.4 million for the North San Joaquin Valley Wetland Habitat Project that will conserve 36,616 acres in Central California.
  • 150 landowners and partners will receive $860,000 with matching funds of $8 million for the South Dakota Prairie Coteau Project, which will conserve 91,865 acres in Northeast South Dakota.
  • Ducks Unlimited and its partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of nearly $2.9 million for the Skagit/Samish Wetlands Project, Phase III. This ongoing project will conserve 1,022 acres in Northwest Washington.
  • Private landowners and other partners will receive $893,310 with matching funds of nearly $2.4 million for the Texas Mid-Coast Wetlands Restoration Project, which will conserve 7,472 acres in central gulf coast Texas.
  • The Eugene Water & Electric Board and its partners will receive $960,000 with matching funds of more than $2 million for the Upper Willamette Wetlands Conservation Initiative Project that will conserve 1,823 acres in Eastern Oregon.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and its partners will receive $1 million with matching funds of $2.8 million for the Wisconsin Northwest Pothole Habitat Initiative Project, Phase IV, which will conserve 3,155 acres in Northwest Wisconsin.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 

 


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