Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton,
|For Immediate Release:June 9, 2004||
Norton Announces Funding for Wetlands Projects,
Additions to National Wildlife Refuges
(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced today that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today has approved more than $18 million for habitat conservation to benefit migratory birds. At the same time, the Commission also approved the acquisition of more than 3,500 acres of important migratory bird habitat to be added to the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The Commission's action 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 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 Michigan, Texas and West Virginia.
"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 Secretary Norton, who chairs the Commission. "Wetlands provide excellent habitat for wildlife, and provide millions of Americans with a broad range of outdoor recreational opportunities."
Secretary Norton also thanked Senator John Breaux, who is retiring from Senate and the Commission, where he has been a member for the past 8 years.
"On behalf of the Commission, I extend to Senator Breaux my sincerest appreciation for his commitment to the Commission," Norton said.
Working with Partners to Conserve Wetlands
The NAWCA Small Grant Program funded 43 projects for nearly $2 million in 22 states and Puerto Rico to protect or restore nearly 12,000 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitats. Project partners added more than $11 million.
Since 1996, the Small Grant Program has funded more than 239 projects along with more than 665 partners. Partners added more than $69 million to more than $10.2 million in grants to conserve some 81,271 acres of habitats in the United States.
The Commission also approved more than $16 million for 19 projects in Canada. Partners added more than $22 million to conserve more than 1 million acres of wetlands.
"Since many of North America's waterfowl species are dependent on breeding habitat in Canada it is important that we use our NAWCA funds to conserve habitat there as well," said Service Director Steve Williams.
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, nearly $700 million has been raised to purchase more than five million acres of wetlands for the refuge system."
The Commission approved more than $6.4 million 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:
Michigan: Acquisition of 409 acres to protect wetlands for migratory waterfowl within the boundaries of Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in Wayne County.
Texas: Acquisition of 43 acres to protect wetlands for migratory waterfowl within the boundaries of Anuhuac NWR in Galveston County.
Texas: Acquisition of 2,681 acres to protect wetlands for migratory waterfowl within the boundaries of McFaddin NWR in Galveston County.
Texas: Acquisition of 225 acres to protect wetlands for migratory waterfowl within the boundaries of San Bernard NWR in Brazoria County.
West Virginia: Acquisition of 155 acres to protect wetlands for migratory waterfowl within the boundaries of Canaan Valley NWR in Tucker County.
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.
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