North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)

Photo credit: Anne Elliott
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The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a federal grants program that provides matching funds to partnerships focused on conserving wetlands for migratory birds. NAWCA grants fund the protection, restoration, and enhancement of wetlands and adjacent uplands which provide valuable habitat for wetland-dependent birds during the summer, winter, and/or during migration. NAWCA grants require at least a 1:1 match, which is typically in the form of in-kind work by various partners within the project area, e.g., the appraised value of “match parcels” that were—or will be—protected during the grant period (i.e., about two years before and after the grant proposal is submitted). Scores of land trusts have been successful in obtaining tens of million of dollars in NAWCA funds to protect more than a million acres of land across the US in the last 20 years. There are three NAWCA application windows each year; two for “Standard Grants” ($1M grants) and one for the “Small Grants” ($75k grants) program. Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with regional “Bird Habitat Joint Venture” staff, who can provide guidance or assistance on all aspects of the NAWCA process.