More than $26 million in grants to protect and restore wetlands and other habitats have been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
â€œMore than $24.2 million of the more grant funds will support 25 projects in 21 states and Puerto Rico, with partners contributing an additional $60.6 million in matching funds to help protect, restore and enhance almost 185,000 acres,â€ according to a press release by the Department of Interior.
There are typically several partners with each effort, including federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, land trusts, private landowners and other interested parties.
â€œBy restoring and conserving our wetlands, we are able to help protect this vital habitat for the birds and wildlife that make their homes there,â€ said Ken Salazar, chairman of the commission, and Secretary of the department.
Several projects received $1 million in federal funds, according to project summaries:
- Suisun Marsh Managed Wetlands Enhancement Project, Phase II; Solano County, California.
- Yolo Basin Wetland Habitat Project, Phase IV; Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties, California.
- San Luis Valley Wetland Project â€“ Phase IV; Alamosa, Rio Grande, Saguache, Conejos and Costilla counties, Colorado
- Platte River Wetlands Partnership II; Weld, Morgan, Logan and Sedgwick counties, Colorado; Garden, Keith, Lincoln, Merrill and Scotts Bluff counties, Nebraska; Goshen County, Wyoming.
- North Florida Wetlands Conservation Project, Phase III; Alachua County, Florida.
- Rayonier-Murff Tract; Long and McIntosh counties, Georgia
- Prairie Lakes Wetland Initiative III; 19 counties in the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa.
- Southeastern Prairie Potholes; 24 counties within the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa
- Glaciated Valleys of Northwest Montana 2; Flathead, Lake and Sanders counties, Montana.
- Rainwater Basin Habitat Conservation Project â€“ Phase IV; 17 counties in central Nebraska
- North Carolina Onslow Bight Partnership Phase III; Carteret, Craven, Onslow and Pender counties, North Carolina
- Southeastern North Carolina Wetlands Initiative I; Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties, North Carolina
- North Dakota Drift Prairie Project â€“ II; 22 counties in North Dakota
- Willamette River Delta Restoration Project, Phase II; Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Columbia counties, Oregon
- Winyah Bay Protection Project: Phase I; Dillon, Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Williamsburg counties, South Carolina
- Texas Chenier Plain Wetlands Improvement Project.; Chambers and Jefferson counties, Texas
- Southern Tip Ecological Partnership II (STEP-2); Northampton and Accomack counties, Virginia.
- San Miguel Natural Reserve; Luquillo, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Nearly $2 million was awarded for seven projects that will protect 2,470 acres of habitat in Mexico. Partners will provide an additional $3.5 million.
The NAWCA is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Grants are â€œfunded by annual Congressional appropriations; fines, penalties and forfeitures levied under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; interest accrued on funds under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Fund.â€
Funds are provided each year for projects which undergo a review and are selected by members of the commission. Funding is often provided in different years to continue a long-term project.