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Bipartisan ACE Act Secures Conservation Funding

Election-year politics didn’t completely cause gridlock in 2020.

On Oct. 30, President Trump signed the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act into law, completing the process to renew vital funding for conservation throughout the country. The ACE Act passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and unanimous consent earlier this year.  

The bill, sponsored by bipartisan representation, including Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, codifies the National Fish Habitat Partnership and reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, two of the most successful voluntary conservation efforts in the nation.

The law also reauthorizes the Chesapeake Bay Program and creates funding authorizations for other crucial conservation programs such as the creation of a task force to plan research, testing and response for chronic wasting disease at a national level.

Under the newly signed law, the National Fish Habitat Partnership will be authorized until Fiscal Year 2025 with $7.2 million annually. The partnership has been in place since 2006 and consists of 20 individual Fish Habitat Partnerships, which focus on improving fish habitat and aquatic communities at regional and local levels. 

“In Arkansas, we work with two of these partnerships: the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP),” Jason Olive, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assistant chief of fisheries, said. “Some recent projects in both reservoirs and flowing waters in Arkansas have benefitted from these partnerships.”

Examples include projects on Lake Poinsett, Lake Ouachita and dam-removal projects near Mena and in Madison County.

Additionally, NAWCA, which has helped conserve more than 30 million acres of wetlands in North America, would see an increase from $45 million to $60 million each year for the next five years to devote to wetlands conservation. This money would be available in grants that bolster private funds and donations by leveraging matching dollars to complete vital habitat restoration projects to benefit wildlife and water quality.

Dec 5, 2020 - Visit www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/conserving-wildlife to learn more about the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act and the programs it benefits.

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