DearColleague.us

Letter

Mike Thompson

From the office of:

Mike Thompson

Sending Office: Honorable Mike Thompson
Sent By:
Brittaney.Koehler@mail.house.gov

 

Deadline: March 12, 2020

Current cosigners: Bonamici, Brown, Cárdenas, Casten, Cicilline, Davis, DeFazio, Deutch, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Foster, Gabbard, Grijalva, Hastings, Jayapal, Khanna, Kim, Kind, Larsen, Lee, Lipinski, Marshall, M.D., McGovern, Sablan, Sarbanes,
Shalala, Smith, Thompson, Walorski, Wittman, and Young

Dear Colleague:

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a long-standing program that has been immensely effective in leveraging non-federal funds to protect, restore, and manage wetland habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. NAWCA provides federal
cost-share funding to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

NAWCA is a landmark investment over 30 years old, that has led to the conservation of America’s wildlife resources and produced a number of economic and environmental benefits nationwide. Additionally, it serves as a non-regulatory, incentive-based, landowner-friendly
program. For every federal dollar granted under NAWCA, at least a one-dollar match is required from partners at the state and local level. Often, these matching funds are double, triple, or more on the federal investment.

Since NAWCA’s enactment, about 6,000 conservation partners in 2,833 projects, from small landowners to large corporations, have leveraged nearly $1.6 billion in NAWCA grant funds with over $4.68 billion in partner funds to affect 29.8 million acres of habitat.
Wetlands play a vital role in maintaining the quality of our environment, and we believe one would be hard pressed to find a better federal wetlands preservation program than NAWCA.

As you may know, NAWCA has been included in every Presidential budget since the program’s inception in 1989. Federal funds for projects are awarded on a competitive basis, where a project’s value is based on its biological significance to migratory birds
and other wildlife. Signing this letter will support programmatic funding in the Interior Appropriations bill and is not counted as an earmark request.

Congress has consistently shown strong bipartisan support for NAWCA thanks to the program’s wide range of benefits across the continent. We hope you will join us in sending a letter to the Appropriations Committee in support of the most practical funding
level for NAWCA in Fiscal Year 2021. If you would like to sign the letter, or if you have any questions, please contact Kevin.Rambosk@mail.house.gov (Dingell), Brent.Robinson@mail.house.gov (Wittman), Brittaney.Koehler@mail.house.gov (Thompson), or Michael.Brooks@mail.house.gov
(Marshall).

Sincerely,

 

MIKE THOMPSON                                       ROBERT J. WITTMAN

 

Member of Congress                                     Member of Congress

 

 

DEBBIE DINGELL                                       ROGER MARSHALL, M.D.

 

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

 

 

March 20, 2020

 

The Honorable Betty McCollum

Chairman

Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations

2256 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

The Honorable David Joyce

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations

1124 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman McCollum and Ranking Member Joyce:

 

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a very popular and successful conservation program that has strong support in Congress, the conservation community, and among private landowners including farmers, ranchers and foresters across
the United States. NAWCA is a unique, public-private partnership-based program that matches non-federal and federal funds to protect, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife. We greatly appreciate the subcommittee’s
past support for NAWCA and we urge your continued advocacy of this valuable program.

Since enactment in 1989, the success of NAWCA stretches far beyond the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. A large number of wildlife species, as well as people, benefit tremendously from healthy wetland systems that are the result
of on-the-ground conservation made possible by the program.  Wetlands have a proven ability to help prevent flooding, reduce the severity of storm surges and mitigate the damaging effects of soil erosion. Wetlands also improve water quality by working with
underground aquifers to filter out pollutants.

NAWCA is one of the government’s most cost-effective conservation programs. Traditionally, federal dollars invested in NAWCA are matched by more than three dollars from non-federal partners including corporations, private landowners, non-profits,
state governments and local organizations.  In the last 30 years, federal funding of over $1.6 billion has leveraged over $4.68 billion in partner contributions. Regional Joint Ventures, established to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan,
play a substantial role in encouraging investments by fostering collaborative efforts to successfully implement NAWCA.

The U.S. has lost almost half of its original wetlands and continues to lose over 80,000 wetland acres each year.  NAWCA is helping to slow down and reverse this trend of wetland loss.

We commend the support your subcommittee has provided this program in the past and would like to reiterate the features that few federal programs can match:

 

  • NAWCA creates jobs and stimulates the economy.  Outdoor recreation generates over $887 billion of economic output each year.  In many cases, this economic activity is vital to the incomes of rural Americans.  One study suggests NAWCA,
    on average, directly spurs the creation of 7,500 new jobs annually in the United States, generating nearly $840 million in worker earnings each year.

 

  • NAWCA is a voluntary and non-regulatory conservation program.  Farmers, ranchers and other private landowners support the program, and every project is voluntary.  Incentives allow willing landowners to restore wildlife habitat and
    conservation practices to their private lands.

 

  • NAWCA fosters conservation efforts by the non-federal sector.  More than 6,000 corporate, small businesses, non-profit, state and local entities have more than doubled NAWCA dollars with matching funds.  More than 3,000 on-the-ground
    conservation projects have been implemented in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico to restore, protect, and manage more than 30 million acres.

 

  • Congress is involved in approving which projects are funded.  The final approval body in the project selection process is the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.  The seven-member body includes four Members of Congress.

 

  • NAWCA has strong support from the states.  All 50 state wildlife agencies are active partners in the program.

 

  • Demand for NAWCA continues to exceed available funds.  Demand for the program in the U.S. outstrips available funding on a yearly basis.  NAWCA remains a very popular program among landowners interested and willing to restore and
    conserve wetlands habitat.

NAWCA represents a reasonable, cost-effective approach to wildlife conservation. While we understand the fiscal constraints this year, we would like to point to this program’s demonstrable success at developing non-federal funding sources and diverse partnerships
for the conservation of wildlife habitat. It deserves the subcommittee’s endorsement for the most practical funding level. Thank you again for taking the time to consider our views and recognizing the importance of future funding for the North American Wetlands
Conservation Act.

 

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Environment, Natural Resources

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