Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release:
June 29, 2006
Contact: Hugh Vickery, DOI
(202) 501-4633
Hogan Testifies in Support of Reauthorization of North American Wetlands Conservation Act

WASHINGTON DC— Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Matt Hogan today strongly supported reauthorization of a landmark law that has helped fund conservation of 23 million acres of wetlands and other wildlife habitat.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act, first passed in 1991, provides matching grants to organizations and individuals to carry out wetlands conservation and restoration projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

"Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed remarkable achievements in conservation through this landmark legislation, which promotes strong partnerships to protect and restore habitat for migratory birds, and a host of other fauna and flora," Hogan told the House Subcommittee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Since the program's inception, the Interior Department has invested more than $720 million in nearly 1,800 cooperative projects to conserve, restore and enhance key wetlands throughout North America. Partners have contributed an additional $2.1 billion to these projects, and matching contributions of $1.5 billion have far exceeding the one-to-one match required under the law.

For example, the California Waterfowl Association used a $1 million grant and $2 million in contributions from state and private partners to restore 35,000 acres of wetlands in California's Central Valley, providing vital wintering habitat for 60 percent of the Pacific Flyway's waterfowl population.

Likewise, Ducks Unlimited used a grant to build earthen terraces, or dikes, in the Mississippi Delta that helped protect marshland from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina last fall. Other partners have used grants to acquire easements conserving small wetlands called prairie potholes in the Great Plains states that provide vital habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other migratory birds.

In 2002, Congress reauthorized appropriations under the act through 2007. The subcommittee is considering legislation that will extend authorization for the act through fiscal year 2011 while maintaining the authorized funding level at $75 million.

In 2006, the Department is providing $69 million in grants to fund 129 projects. Partners are contributing another $216 million to these projects, including $144 million in matching funds.

In addition to congressional appropriations, funding for grants come from fines under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and from interest accrued in accounts established under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) program, and excise taxes collected through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration (Wallop-Breaux) program.

"This outstanding program has an impressive history of accomplishment for both the American people and the wildlife it treasures," Hogan said.