WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is lauding the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act becoming law. The bipartisan bill includes legislation championed by Senator Heinrich that reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) through 2025 and increases funding for the program to $60 million for each of Fiscal Years 2021 through 2025.
The ACE Act also reauthorizes the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act, reauthorizes or establishes several other key wildlife conservation programs, and helps to address wildlife diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease and combat invasive species.
“A hundred years from now, people are going to look back at this time in Congress and talk a lot about the challenges, the changes, and strife. And then they’re going to see some bright spots. What we’ve been able to accomplish for habitat, for wildlife, and for public lands in this year alone has been remarkable—and that includes passing the ACE Act,” said Heinrich. “Our public lands and outdoor recreation are a uniting force. I am proud to help lead this latest effort to conserve wildlife and ecosystems, enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation, and put people back to work restoring our public lands.”
NAWCA was enacted in 1989 to provide federal cost-share funding—alongside funding from state and local governments, non-profit organizations like Ducks Unlimited, and private industry—to projects that conserve North America’s waterfowl, fish, and wildlife resources. Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, along with U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced bipartisan legislation in 2019 to reauthorize NAWCA.
Senator Heinrich is also a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which approves NAWCA grants. NAWCA has demonstrated success in leveraging partnerships to restore key habitat, such as the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico.
Heinrich added, “The ACE Act is an important step towards dealing with the wildlife crisis. So many of our native wildlife species are imperiled—there has been a net loss of nearly three billion birds since 1970—and the impact of climate change on wildlife and habitat is only becoming more severe. By reauthorizing and increasing funding for NAWCA and so many other important provisions in this bill, we will ensure our kids and grandkids will be able to hunt, fish, and enjoy our wildlife for generations to come.”
“Such strong bipartisan action on the ACE Act is thanks to the work of anglers, wildlife advocates, birders, hunters, and other community members,” concluded Heinrich.
The ACE Act received the support of wildlife and conservation groups and advocates like the National Wildlife Federation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Ducks Unlimited. For a list of previous supporting quotes after the House-passage of the ACE Act in October, click here.