Commission approves $61 million to conserve wetlands
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved $61.3 million in funding to protect, restore and enhance more than 205,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“Conservation of our nation’s wetlands is critical to protecting our wildlife, watersheds, coastal communities and important economic activities,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, chair of the commission. “Wetlands not only are home to hundreds of species of migratory birds, but they also provide us with clean water, act as buffers against storms, support our vibrant coastal fishing industries, and provide unique opportunities for outdoor recreation.”
The commission approved $54.7 million in grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to protect, restore and enhance 200,069 acres of habitat for migratory birds in the United States, Mexico and Canada, leveraging an additional $92.6 million in matching funds.
The commission also approved nearly $6.6 million for fee and easement land acquisitions of 5,072 acres on five national wildlife refuges. The funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”
“These grants are critical to maintaining the health and vitality of America’s wetlands and the abundance and variety of wildlife they support,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Wetlands are particularly crucial to migratory birds all along their flyways. These grants will enable our partners in Canada, Mexico and the United States to protect and improve the quality of these habitats.”
The five commission-approved refuge projects are:
- Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas. Boundary addition and price approval for a high-priority 1,227-acre tract for $1,718,200.
- San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, Texas. Boundary addition and price approval for 30 acres for $138,500.
- Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Liberty County, Texas. Boundary addition and price approval for 234 acres for $162,399.
- Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area, Kern and Tulare counties, California. Acquisition of 305 acres in easement for $782,000.
- Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, Union and Morehouse parishes, Louisiana. Boundary addition of 18,711 acres and acquisition of 3,276 acres for $3,830,013. Additionally, the commission gave the green light for the potential future boundary expansion that would add 15,435 acres to that Refuge’s acquisition boundary.
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