Appropriations chairs Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD) and Rep. Hal Rogers (KY) have released the Fiscal Year 2014 omnibus bill, which includes funding for vital conservation programs such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
If approved, the bill will fund Interior, Environment and Related Agencies at $30.058 billion, a level for which the sportsmen community advocated. NAWCA will be funded at $34.145 million. Other important conservation programs, such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund and state wildlife grants, will also receive critical funding.
“Investing in conservation programs returns many layers of benefits, from maintaining our nation’s wildlife populations to boosting local economies,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “I’m relieved that appropriators looked at the big picture when compiling the omnibus and continued to fund conservation programs that provide a net profit.”
Outdoor recreation, including hunting and angling, is responsible for $646 billion in consumer spending each year. The industry also supports more than 6.1 million non-exportable jobs in the nation.
Specifically, NAWCA projects must be matched dollar for dollar with non-federal money. Over the lifespan of the program, NAWCA has turned more than $1 billion in federal funds into nearly $3.5 billion in additional non-federal economic activity. These projects create nearly 7,500 new jobs annually and generate more than $200 million in worker earnings each year.
“Appropriators have chosen to continue our conservation legacy by adequately funding critical conservation programs,” said Paul Schmidt, DU chief conservation officer. “DU thanks Senator Mikulski and Congressman Rogers for finding funding for these critical conservation programs in a tight fiscal environment. Congress must now move swiftly to pass the omnibus in both houses.”