North American Wetlands Conservation Act – 30 Years Strong!

Courtesy of

After the signing of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) in 1986, federal and state agencies joined with private conservation groups to secure funding dedicated to wetland conservation and restoration. With the help of key legislators like Senator George Mitchell of Maine and Representative Silvio Conte of Massachusetts, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, or NAWCA, was introduced. In 1989, the Senate and House passed NAWCA, and President George H.W. Bush signed this new continental conservation funding mechanism into law on December 12, 1989. President Bush also pledged a new policy of “no net loss of wetlands.”

Now 30 years after that historic signing, with help from the Joint Ventures and countless partners, NAWCA’s annual federal funding hasn’t been simply matched, but doubled and even tripled by state, provincial, non-governmental organization, and private partners.  The NAWCA appropriations have helped fuel and support thousands of projects across North America that are focused on wetland conservation and restoration. 

Join us and all those in the wetland, waterfowl, and birding communities in celebrating 30 years of NAWCA!

Want to produce a story of your own to celebrate #NAWCA30? Check out our resources page for materials and pre-written articles you can utilize in your own #NAWCA30 outreach efforts.


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30 Years Conserving Wetlands in Eastern Canada

Sackville, NB, 29 November 2019—Canada’s Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (EHJV) is celebrating 30 years of wetland conservation in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canada is home to 25 per cent of the world’s wetlands and 39 per cent of those wetlands are within the EHJV’s borders. Wetlands are among the most productive and fascinating ecosystems on the planet. They are home to birds and other wildlife species such as reptiles and fish, and provide recreational opportunities such as birding, hiking and other activities.

In 1989, the EHJV began with a single project in Matchedash Bay, Ontario. The goal was to conserve important habitat for declining waterfowl populations. Thirty years later, over $600M dollars have been invested to secure 837,000 hectares and improve 273,500 hectares  of high-priority wetland and associated upland habitat for all migratory birds, other wildlife and communities across Canada’s six eastern provinces . 

“The ongoing success of the EHJV would not be possible without its diverse network of partners working to conserve wetlands one project at a time,” said Marie-Josée Couture, Regional Director for the Canadian Wildlife Service-Québec Region and EHJV Board Chair. “Each wetland project helps form a corridor that provides important wildlife habitat – this is especially important in areas of heavy urban development and agriculture.”

“Wetland ecosystems are fundamental to wildlife and also to communities and to the economy,” adds Mark Gloutney, Director of Regional Operations Eastern Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada. “They serve as “green infrastructure” for controlling drought and flooding caused by increasingly unpredictable weather patterns linked to climate change.”

“Working collaboratively these past 30 years, the EHJV’s focused investments in wetland conservation have yielded tremendous benefits for wildlife and people,” said Kathryn Folkl, Director of North American Partnerships for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Continued support of the EHJV partnership can achieve landscape-scale conservation essential to recovering healthy bird populations.”

The EHJV is part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), a continental plan begun in 1986 between Canada and the United States, with Mexico signing on in 1994, to conserve important wetland and associated upland habitat to support abundant and resilient waterfowl populations, provide places to recreate and ecological services that benefit society. It is a collaboration among U.S. federal and state agencies, Canadian federal, provincial and municipal governments, Indigenous communities, non-governmental organizations, industry, and landowners. EHJV partners include Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Bird Studies Canada and the six provincial governments. The NAWMP partnership is one of the most successful global conservation initiatives ever undertaken; Canada and Canadians benefit enormously from its success.

Learn more about the EHJV partnership at .

For more information, contact

Tania Morais
EHJV Coordinator
(506) 364-5085

About the EHJV

The EHJV is one of four habitat and three species joint ventures in Canada and numerous joint ventures and regional partnerships in the United States and Mexico. The EHJV protects critical wetland and upland habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife and plant species as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s original goal to restore waterfowl levels to 1970s levels.

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Government of Canada Invests in Wetlands for Migratory Birds

News release

September 6, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians know that protecting our nature and the wildlife that depend on it is essential to our environment, economy, and health. That is why the Government of Canada is working to double the amount of protected nature in Canada’s lands and oceans.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will provide $10 million over two years to support the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which helps protect wetlands and migratory birds, including species at risk.

The Plan is an international partnership that conserves and protects wetland and upland habitats and their waterfowl populations by securing and improving wetlands. Canada is working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Island Nature Trust, and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation to protect the waterfowl and the places they call home.

The funding will enable partners to implement projects that will secure and restore at least 10,000 hectares of wetlands. These areas include habitats that are of the highest value for migratory birds.

By working with partners across the country to conserve wetlands, we can protect and preserve more of Canada’s nature for future generations.


“Protecting our wetlands is an important part of our commitment to conserve Canada’s nature. By working together with partners to implement the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, we are making progress toward protecting our natural landscapes and the species at risk that depend on them.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is grateful for this important investment in nature. These funds will ensure the protection of some of Canada’s most imperiled habitats for waterfowl and other migratory birds. This partnership is setting a global example of conservation through collaboration and will benefit Canadians for generations to come.”
– John Lounds, President and CEO, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“With this announcement, the federal government is making a significant investment toward achieving the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, one of the most successful conservation programs in the world. Canadians will see many long-term benefits, including more habitat for waterfowl and species at risk, improved water quality, and enhanced carbon sequestration. In addition to supporting the Plan’s goals, this investment is an important step in Canada’s continuing fight against climate change, and Ducks Unlimited Canada looks forward to helping the country reach its goal of protecting 17 percent of Canada, to ensure these areas remain natural.”
– Karla Guyn, CEO, Ducks Unlimited Canada

“The Canada Nature Fund’s North American Waterfowl Management Plan contribution to coastal and riparian wetland protection in the Maritimes is significant. It will support tangible and lasting biodiversity gains on lands held in trust for Canadians by the region’s major land trusts—the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, and Island Nature Trust—who are working collaboratively and strategically to conserve priority habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.”
– Megan Harris, Executive Director, Island Nature Trust

“The protected wetlands resulting from new federal funding will contribute many environmental benefits, including biological diversity, water quality, flood control, and resilience to climate change impacts.”
– Tim Sopuck, Chief Executive Officer, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation

Quick facts

  • This approved funding is part of the Government’s sustained commitment to invest up to $20 million over four years in North American Waterfowl Management Plan projects.
  • The $500 million Canada Nature Fund, which will fund the implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, is part of Budget 2018’s historic Nature Legacy initiative, which invests $1.3 billion in nature conservation.
  • Federal funding through the Canada Nature Fund is matched by philanthropic foundations, corporate, not-for-profit, provincial, territorial, and other partners.
  • Globally, Canada has 20 percent of freshwater resources, 24 percent of wetlands, 25 percent of temperate rainforest areas, and 33 percent of remaining boreal forests.
  • Since 1986, over $2.5 billion has been invested in wetland conservation in Canada under the auspices of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. This investment has resulted in over 9.2 million hectares of wetlands and associated uplands habitat being conserved in Canada in support of the Plan’s goals.
  • Wetlands cover approximately 13 percent of Canada’s land area and provide numerous ecosystem services including carbon storage.
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Canada Invests $175 Million Dollars in Nature

August 19, 2019 – Victoria, British Columbia

Canadians cherish nature and depend on it for clean air and water, vibrant communities, and solutions to climate change. Home to the longest coastline in the world; one quarter of the earth’s wetlands and boreal forests; 20 percent of its fresh water; and precious habitat for birds, fish, and mammals, Canada has a special responsibility to protect nature today and for generations to come.

That’s why the Government of Canada launched Canada’s $1.35 billion Nature Legacy initiative, the single-largest investment in nature conservation by a government in Canada’s history. Canada’s Nature Legacy will help double the amount of nature protected on land and in our oceans, transform how government protects and recovers species at risk, and advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Conservation also contributes to Canada’s economy through tourism and jobs, and it can bring benefits 10 to 20 times greater than the original investment.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the first in a series of 67 conservation initiatives launching in every province and territory, as part of Canada’s Nature Legacy initiative. These projects are supported by the $175 million federal Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge, to expand a connected network of protected and conserved areas across Canada.

Minister McKenna announced $3.9 million in federal funding to help the Tahltan Central Government work with its members and other stakeholders on a land-use planning process that provides further clarity and certainty across their territory in northwestern British Columbia. The Tahltan Nation have been leaders in working with British Columbia to advance environmental stewardship and protection along with strong economic development focused on mining and its related business. The Tahltan Nation’s territory is home to various species at risk and culturally significant boreal forest watershed and wetland habitat. Conservation efforts in the region would enhance connectivity with the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor, the Great Bear Rainforest, and other protected areas.

Further details about other projects moving forward under the Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge will be released as agreements with local partners are finalized.

Minister McKenna also announced that the Government of Canada intends to invest through Canada’s $100 million Natural Heritage Conservation Program, in advancing the protection of additional hectares of land and water in Clayoquot Sound, in partnership with the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and non-profit organizations. This support will help to connect Strathcona Provincial Park with the outer coastal provincial parks and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The investment will also protect important habitat for over 15 federally listed species at risk, support the land-use visions of the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, and enhance their capacity to fully participate in the process.

While making the announcement on conservation initiatives, Minister McKenna took the opportunity to release a report card on the progress Parks Canada is making on implementing the 75 recommendations arising from the 2017 Minister’s Round Table Let’s Talk Parks, Canada!, the largest public engagement in Parks Canada’s history. One of the key recommendations was the establishment of an independent working group focused on ensuring that the principles of ecological and commemorative integrity are the first priority when making decisions at Parks Canada. Dr. Peter Robinson, previously the CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op and the David Suzuki Foundation, led the independent working group and will continue to advise Parks Canada on the ongoing implementation of the commitments. The independent working group’s report released today will help to ensure that national parks can continue to be diverse and healthy ecosystems for the future, and national historic sites can continue to tell the many stories that have shaped our country and our shared heritage.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 announced $1.35 billion for Canada’s Nature Legacy initiative—the single-largest investment in nature conservation in Canadian history.
  • The $175 million Canada Nature Fund will support ongoing progress toward achieving its Target 1 Challenge of conserving 17 percent of our land and fresh water by the end of 2020.
  • The Natural Heritage Conservation Program is led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, under the Canada Nature Fund. The four-year, $100 million program aims to acquire at least 200,000 hectares of private lands and private interests in land to protect habitat and species at risk.
  • Canada’s network of protected and conserved areas is important to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk. Intact forests and wetlands also capture and store carbon dioxide and can help protect communities from the impacts of climate change.
  • Canada is making Indigenous leadership an important part of conservation efforts. Up to 27 Indigenous protected and conserved areas are expected to be established under the Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge. Further, Budget 2017 announced support for Indigenous guardians’ programs, which support Indigenous conservation through on-the-ground, Nation-based stewardship initiatives.
  • In 2017, Parks Canada launched Let’s Talk Parks, Canada! More than 8,000 Canadians participated in online discussions, public outreach events, and face-to-face workshops, and some 5,000 more contributed their thoughts and ideas over social media.
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National Heritage Conservation Program Provides New Protection for Canada’s Wetlands

Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited Canada
April 23, 2019

Oak Hammock Marsh, Man. – A new $100-million program announced today by the Government of Canada is poised to provide new protection for some of the country’s most valuable—and vulnerable—wetland habitat. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is a key partner that will put these funds to work in ways that will benefit our land and water, species at risk and all Canadians.

Canada’s wetlands are some of the most productive and valuable ecosystems in the country. In addition to providing essential habitat for waterfowl and hundreds of other wildlife species, they naturally filter pollutants from water. They mitigate floods and droughts and protect communities from sea level rise. However, many wetlands are located within privately held or settled landscapes that can make them more vulnerable to degradation and loss. The Natural Heritage Conservation Program is a four-year federal government commitment that will focus on securing intact ecosystems on privately owned or managed lands. This is also where most of Canada’s species at risk are found.

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, made the announcement today in Toronto. The program is expected to conserve 200,000 hectares (more than 490,000 acres) across the country over the next four years.

Karla Guyn, DUC’s chief executive officer, joined Minister McKenna in Toronto and says the Natural Heritage Conservation Program is a significant investment that will positively impact generations to come.

“Ducks Unlimited Canada has a long and successful history of working with landowners and families as well as community groups, businesses and public agencies to deliver conservation that benefits them and the environment,” says Guyn. “Funding from the Natural Heritage Conservation Program will allow us to engage with more partners who have a shared interest in private lands. Working together to establish new protected areas will deliver more important environmental benefits to all Canadians.”

DUC will work closely with the Nature Conservancy of Canada who is overseeing the allocation of Natural Heritage Conservation Program funding. DUC will also be responsible for matching every federal dollar it receives with at least two dollars of non-federal contributions.

“The matching component of the program is powerful,” says Guyn. “We will be working with our supporters and conservation-minded Canadians from coast to coast to identify the lands and raise the funds that will not only triple the investment but triple the conservation impact.”

The Natural Heritage Conservation Program will contribute to achieving Canada’s Target 1 goal of protecting at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and freshwater habitats by 2020. It is funded through the federal government’s Canada Nature Fund.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

Contact Information

Ashley Lewis
Senior Communication Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada
(204) 467-3252

Jim Brennan
Director of Government Affairs
Ducks Unlimited Canada
(613) 612-4469

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More Protected Land in the Forillon Peninsula to Help the Movement of Wildlife

January 14, 2019

Courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the expansion of an important wilderness area in eastern Quebec. The not-for-profit land conservation organization has acquired two new forested sites, further protecting another 26 hectares (64 acres) in the Saint-Majorique section of the Gaspé Peninsula. This expands the NCC-conserved lands here to 170 hectares (over 420 acres) along Route 197.  

This area is very important for animals, as it is the only land link that allows wildlife to move between Forillon National Park and the large public forest lands located further west. Located about 15 kilometres from downtown Gaspé and 5 kilometres from Rivière-au-Renard, these two properties provide a continuous forest cover dominated by balsam fir, white spruce and red maple. These wooded areas and waterways are home to a wide variety of animals, such as Canada lynx, moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, marten and red fox.

“The protection of these two new properties, located on both sides of Route 197, makes it possible to consolidate a forest corridor more than 500 metres wide, making it the most important protected ecological corridor on the Forillon Peninsula,” said Camille Bolduc, NCC project manager for Gaspésie. She added that the maintenance of ecological corridors is intended to ensure wildlife diversity both at the local level of the Forillon Peninsula and on the continental level.

Mobilizing local partners around the issue of ecological connectivity

In addition to private land protection initiatives, NCC is working with various local partners to address the issue of habitat fragmentation for wildlife. For example, a forum on the need for ecological connectivity in the Forillon Peninsula was held last September in Gaspé. Participants from the public and private land-use planning sector, Forillon National Park and NCC discussed the various ecological, land-use planning and road safety issues related to ecological connectivity along Route 197, and to work on the implementation of an action plan. This forum is part of the major project “Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy” coordinated by NCC in Quebec and its many partners.


These two new conservation projects were made possible by the financial support of the Ensemble pour la nature project of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec and the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program.

We also wish to thank the private landowners who have contributed to the protection of wildlife corridors on their property.

The Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy project is made possible thanks to the Action-Climat Québec program. The Fondation de la faune du Québec is also a project funding partner.   

“In addition to providing many services to humanity, particularly by storing carbon, plants form groups that constitute the habitats of several animal species, as is the case in the Gaspé Peninsula. Keeping forests intact is therefore a key role in the fight against climate change and the preservation biodiversity in Quebec and around the world. I am proud that, through the Ensemble pour la nature project, we can collectively contribute to preserving part of this important natural heritage from which we benefit, both for ourselves and for the generations to come.” – Benoit Charette, Minister of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change

“With the help of partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec and its many partners including those in and around Gaspé, our government is making progress toward doubling the amount of protected nature across Canada’s lands and oceans. Nature is central to our Canadian identity, and by taking the initiative now to establish a wildlife corridor near Forillon National Park, we’re protecting wildlife and ensuring our kids and grandkids can connect to nature and experience its wonder.” -Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.


•    For more than 15 years, NCC has been ensuring the long-term protection of exceptional natural environments in the Gaspé Peninsula. To date, these efforts, in collaboration with local and regional partners, have protected more than 886 hectares (2,189 acres of important habitat for 28 at-risk species.
•    Ecological corridors are natural passages through which wildlife move from one habitat to another. It is essential to protect and restore these corridors in areas fragmented by human infrastructure such as roads and cities.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) across the country, including 45,000 hectares (111,197 acres) in Quebec. To learn more, visit

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP), administered by NCC, is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate land conservation in southern Canada. Through matching contributions, NCC and its partners enhance federal funding. The habitats conserved through the NACP help strengthen the protection of natural corridors and other protected areas.

The Ensemble pour la nature project (PEPN) is a three-year, $15 million grant to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) from Quebec’s Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). It aims to establish financial partnerships and acquire scientific knowledge to ensure the conservation and protection of natural environments on private lands in Quebec between now and March 31, 2020. It thus promotes solidarity with respect to protected areas by involving Quebec communities in conservation actions.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Sbaglia
Communications Manager, Quebec Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
514-876-1606 x6240

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