Interior Secretary Zinke announces grants for wetland conservation and national wildlife refuges

By on September 12, 2017

Grants made through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) have been announced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, chair of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners. The $21.9 million will be used to conserve, enhance or restore more than 92,000 acres of lands for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 16 states. Funds granted to NAWCA will be matched by more than $45 million in partner funds.

California and its partners will receive $1 million in grants funds from the California Waterfowl Association to restore and enhance 2,314 acres of critical wintering waterfowl habitat in California. The infrastructure developed with these funds will aid in combating future issues by allow managers to implement advanced management strategies to conserve water supplies allowing less water to go farther and have improved results on these habitats even when water supplies are challenged. The project is targeted to conserve critical habitat by restoring 391 acres of palustrine emergent, 45 acres of palustrine forested and 500 acres of associated uplands. The enhancement of 1,325 acres of palustrine emergent and 53 acres of associated uplands will improve the ability for managers to effectively and efficiently manage these habitats, thereby maximizing resource availability and diversity through infrastructure improvements.

“I grew up hunting and fishing and know first-hand how important the outdoors is for our own health, the health of our communities and the health of our economy,” said Secretary Zinke. “The projects approved by the commission will benefit hundreds of wetland and coastal bird species, other wildlife, and their habitats, ensuring we have the ability to pass our shared heritage down to our kids and grandkids.”

The Wetlands of the Sacramento Valley stretches through portions of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties. The Sacramento Valley Wetlands’ partners include the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Waterfowl Association, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the Placer Land Trust and various private contributors including several ranches, sporting clubs and conservation organizations.

The commission also approved more than $5.4 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 2,259 acres for six national wildlife refuges. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”

The Department of the Interior has indicated that wetlands are vital in ensuing habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. They also contribute to the $156 billion hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation industry as well as buffer communities from the effects of storms and floods.