North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Protecting, Restoring and Enhancing Wetland Habitats for Birds

 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants increase bird populations and wetland habitat, while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, family farming, and cattle ranching. Wetlands protected by NAWCA provide valuable benefits such as flood control, reducing coastal erosion, improving water and air quality, and recharging ground water.

In the past two decades, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has funded over 3,000 projects totaling $1.83 billion in grants. More than 6,350 partners have contributed another $3.75 billion in matching funds to affect 30 million acres of habitat.

About the Grants Program

The NAWCA program provides matching grants to wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. There is a Standard and a Small Grants Program. Both are competitive grants programs and require that grant requests be matched by partner contributions at no less than a 1-to-1 ratio.

Grant applicants, learn how to apply.

Partners, see the most recent grant announcements and project summaries.

The  North American Wetlands Conservation Act was passed, in part, to support activities under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement that provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated uplands habitats needed by waterfowl and other migratory birds in North America. Program funding comes from appropriations, fines, penalties, and forfeitures; and from interest accrued on the fund. Funds from U.S. Federal sources may contribute towards a project, but are not eligible as match.

The NAWCA program operates in two cycles per year. Each cycle, eligible proposals are reviewed and ranked by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, a nine-member council established by the Act. The Council may directly approve Small Grants. The Council recommends Standard Grants projects to the  Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, a seven-member commission authorized by the Act to give final funding approval.

Grant Deadlines

February 26, 2021:
U.S. Standard Grants, Cycle 1
July 9, 2021:
U.S. Standard Grants, Cycle 2
May 19, 2021:
Mexico Standard Grants
August 27, 2021:
Canada Standard Grants
October 14, 2021:
U.S. Small Grants

Last Updated: April 21, 2021