Waterfowlers, Congress and the NAWCA are at a Crossroads
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) will soon be facing potential cuts as Congress evaluates the program this week on Capitol Hill. Duck and goose hunters across the United States are being called upon to voice disapproval of cutting back or killing the program in the midsts of government's effort to balance the budget.
The NAWCA was founded in 1989 and is an important and productive conservation program that benefits hunters, the habitat and most of all the wildlife and waterfowl from flyway to flyway. The program provides matching grants to those who perform conservation projects in the United States, Mexico and Canada. From September 1990 through March 2011, nearly 4,500 partners in 2,067 projects have received more than $1.1 billion in grants. Another $2.32 billion in matching funds hsa been contributed which has affected 26.5 million acres of habitat along with $1.21 billion in nonmatching funds to affect 234,820 acres of habitat.
If the program is eliminated, conservation projects around the country will be terminated, thousands of jobs will be eliminated, and essential habitat will be lost. Ducks Unlimited is spearheading an effort to unite waterfowl hunters and conservationists in alerting Congressmen and women as to the need for this program. According to DU,
"For every dollar invested in the program, an average of 3.2 dollars is raised to match the federal share by NON-FEDERAL entities. Some of that match is provided by private groups like Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever, private landowners, companies and corporations, and state wildlife agencies. In these times of diminishing federal budgets, continued support for programs like NAWCA that yield strong returns and strong results for wildlife habitat conservation is essential. NAWCA represents the kind of value that all political philosophies should support. It should be funded based on tangible results and economic value."
For more on the NAWCA, visit their official site at http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/index.shtm.
To email your Congressmen, DU has put together an easy to use form submitting the message to strongly consider keeping NAWCA in place via their website at http://capwiz.com/ducks/issues/alert/?alertid=39265501.
A good article elaborating on the situation via GrandForksHerald.com.
Without question, balancing the Federal budget is important and the current status calls for sound fisal policies and evaluation of all programs. Greatly reducing or cutting programs like NAWCA will have a long lasting negative affect on wetlands and wildlife as well as thousands of jobs generated by these resources.
Waterfowl hunters need to get active and voice their opinion to Congress before our valuable conseration efforts go by the wayside.