Millions in funds going to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Motorists drive by the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in this undated file photo. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge will soon be seeing for $6.5 million for wetland conservation.

That’s according to a news release from U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.

According to the release, “hundreds of bird species will benefit from $160 million in funding for various wetland conservation projects in North America.”

The funding was approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.

Of the approved funds, the Commission allocated $22.1 million under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 160,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds for 22 projects in 15 U.S. states.

Partners will match these grants with an additional $50 million.

“These dollars are from our great conservationists — the hunters and anglers who purchase migratory bird stamps,” Bernhardt said. “These efforts support local economies and wildlife in numerous ways. As the country continues to reopen, access to outdoor spaces is more important than ever, and we are doing our part to maintain public access and conserve natural habitats.”

Wetlands provide many economic, ecological and social benefits.

NAWCA grants conserve bird populations and wetland habitat while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, birdwatching, family farming and cattle ranching. Some of this year’s projects include:

“Wetlands are special places with an exceptional role to play in both the economy and conservation of our magnificent wildlife,” Service Director Aurelia Skipwith said. “Through these grants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is uniquely placed to not only positively impact wetland conservation, but also further President Trump’s goal to improve access to public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.”

A complete list of the approved U.S., Canada and Mexico NAWCA projects is available online.