On September 12th, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved the investment of almost $11 million in revenue from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (which is partially derived from Federal Duck Stamp revenue) to add about 10,640 acres of wetland to seven units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The commission, chaired by Secretary Salazar, includes Thad Cochran (R- MS), Mark Pryor (D- AR), Representatives Robert J. Wittman (R- VA) and John D. Dingell (D- MI), Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Also announced was $18.4 million in federal funding for 19 projects that would conserve more than 95,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitat under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
These projects focus on conserving habitat important for wildlife and waterfowl breeding, nesting, foraging, resting, and wintering. The largest boundary addition is planned for Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, with an approved 12,352 acres. This refuge encompasses the largest wetland complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; additional land will provide vital breeding habitat for 21 species of waterfowl, including one of the highest densities of breeding lesser scaup in North America and the highest density of breeding trumpeter swans in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
NAWCA was passed in 1989 and supports activities under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands important for migratory birds and waterfowl. The Act provides grants to organizations and individuals to develop and carry out wetland conservation projects throughout North America.
Source: U.S Department of the Interior (September 17, 2012)