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October 12, 2006 PRESS RELEASE
House Committee on Resources


President signs Pombo bill
to reauthorize wetlands program

H.R. 5539 authorizes $375 million for wetlands protection over 5 years


WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush last night signed into law H.R. 5539, a bill to reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and sponsored by Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.).

NAWCA, first enacted in 1989, has become one of the nation's most popular and effective conservation programs. Since the first wetland grant was awarded 15 years ago, more than 1,500 conservation projects have been funded involving more than 3,200 partners. As a result, more than 23 million acres of wetlands and associated habitat have been protected, restored or enhanced in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Wetlands are an extremely important part of the environment. Not only are they critical to the survival of uncountable wild species, they also act as horizontal levees and help save human lives.

"In my own Congressional district in California, there have been a number of approved NAWCA projects," Chairman Pombo said. "A recent example is the $1 million dollar grant issued to the North San Joaquin Valley Wetland Habitat project to protect, restore and enhance over 36,000 acres of wetlands, riparian and upland habitats.

"The conservation of these lands are good for wildlife and good for people," Chairman Pombo said. "I'm proud to spearhead the effort to reauthorize this worthy program."

In California alone, 71 NAWCA projects have been approved since 1991, which have conserved nearly 500,000 acres of land and dedicated $236 million to wetlands protection. The NAWCA program has had similar success throughout the country.

Wetlands are among the world's most productive environments. Without these wetlands and coastal barriers, the impact of last year's hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico would have been far worse in terms of human life, wildlife habitat and the destruction of private property. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, for every 2.7 miles a hurricane travels across marshes and wetlands, the storm surge is reduced by one foot.

Chairman Pombo's H.R. 5539 is supported by more than 40 conservation groups, including: American Fisheries Society; American Rivers; American Sportfishing Association; Archery  Trade Association; Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Bear Trust International; Boone and Crockett Club; Bowhunting Preservation Alliance; California Outdoor Heritage Alliance; California Waterfowl Association; Campfire Club of America; Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation; Conservation Force, Dallas Safari Club; Ducks Unlimited; Izaak Walton League of America; National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses; National Marine Manufactures Association; National Rifle Association; National Shooting Sports Foundation; National Wild Turkey Federation; North American Bear Foundation; North American Grouse Partnership; Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association; Pheasants Forever; Pope and Young Club; Quail Forever; Quality Deer Management Association; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Ruffed Grouse Society; Safari Club International; Sand County Foundation; Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Texas Wildlife Association; The Trust for Public Land; Trout Unlimited; United States Sportsmen's Alliance; Whitetails Unlimited; Wildlife Forever; Wildlife Habitat Council; The Nature Conservancy; and the Wildlife Management Institute.


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