The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, approved nearly $24 million in grants to conserve or restore more than 134,000 acres of wetlands in 17 states.
The release of funds impacting upland habitats for waterfowl and shorebirds was announced in a press release last month.
The grants will be made through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and will be matched by more than $60 million in partner funds.
“These projects provide tens of thousands of acres of hunting, fishing and recreational access, while strengthening important migration corridors and local economies,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
This year’s projects include:
- Maine Wetlands Conservation Initiative: $1 million to conserve 26,559 acres of wetlands for waterfowl, songbirds and other species in coastal Maine.
- Klamath Basin Wetlands III: $1 million to restore and enhance 12,038 acres of wetlands on a working cattle ranch and elsewhere in the Klamath Basin of Oregon and California, including wet meadows on a cattle ranch. Work will benefit northern pintail, sandhill crane and many other species.
- Texas Beaches to Bays: $1 million to permanently protect 5,369 acres of coastal prairie, coastal marsh and other wetlands and uplands in the Texas Mid-Coast. The project will benefit mottled duck, mallard, redhead and other species.
The commission also approved more than $13 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 5,802 acres for six national wildlife refuges. The funds were raised through the sale of what is commonly referred to as Duck Stamps.
“The Duck Stamp program has been one of our most effective conservation tools for the last 80-plus years,” said Bernhardt in the press release. “These refuges and many others across the United States demonstrate how the millions of dollars that sportsmen and women contribute to the program add up to more wildlife and more places for all Americans to enjoy.”
Federal Duck Stamps are required by waterfowl hunters as an annual license, and are also voluntarily purchased by outdoor enthusiasts. The funds raised from the sale of the stamps goes toward the acquisition of leases of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.