Wetlands and Bird Conservation Bill Advances in the Senate

The ACE Act renews funding for habitat conservation programs.
Green Heron. Photo: Kevin Sim/Audubon Photography Awards

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2024) – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee moved forward a bipartisan bill that would benefit birds by reauthorizing funding for programs to conserve wetlands across the country and North America, conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay region, partnerships to protect fish habitats, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and more. The America’s Conservation Enhancement Reauthorization Act – also known as the ACE Act -- was introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

“Wetlands not only provide critical habitat to birds and wildlife, they also serve as a natural solution to reducing carbon emissions and protecting against climate threats,” said Jesse Walls, senior director of government affairs at the National Audubon Society. “Senators Carper and Capito have put forward a bill that will help ensure the conservation of our nation’s wetlands. We hope it passes the full Senate as soon as possible.”

In addition to reauthorizing programs in the Chesapeake Bay, the legislation would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). Since 1991, the NAWCA program has been a highly popular and successful conservation effort that protects and restores wetlands and associated habitats. It has leveraged more than $4 billion to benefit more than 31 million acres from 3,200 projects in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, contributing to the long-term recovery of many wetland-dependent birds.

The ACE Act also includes reauthorization for the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) program, which since 2006 has funded over 1,100 aquatic conservation projects across the United States. At $10 million a year for five years, this ensures that the NFHP can continue its long and successful mission of defending aquatic and coastal habitats that are critical for endangered nesting and migrating bird populations.

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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Robyn Shepherd, robyn.shepherd@audubon.org