Environment News Service (ENS)

Environment News Service (ENS)

Water Agencies, Conservationists Team Up for Wetlands


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - An association of wastewater treatment agencies and a waterfowl conservation group will work together to help preserve and protect wetlands across the country.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, NACWA, and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. signed an agreement Tuesday to collaborate on promoting the preservation, restoration, and management of wetlands that are valuable to waterfowl and other wildlife.

The wetlands agreement was signed at the Capitol Hill Reception at the NACWA-Water Environment Federation Clean Water Policy Forum.

Wetlands serve many functions in addition to providing critical habitat to a large number of waterfowl species and other birds and animals, the organizations said.

More and more, clean water agencies construct them to provide nature's own treatment for wastewater and stormwater and as a method to improve water quality.

'We are here to launch a new partnership that really is an obvious partnership because our organizations are all about clean water and the huge benefits we derive from clean water,' said NACWA President Dick Champion, the director of the Independence Water Pollution Control Department in Missouri.

'Two things that do the most to achieve clean water are wetlands and wastewater treatment plants,' he said.

One of the goals of the Memorandum of Understanding between NACWA and Ducks Unlimited is to draw the public's eye to the importance of wetlands and the role they play in meeting water quality objectives and providing vibrant and vital habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

'This partnership with the NACWA to protect, restore and manage wetlands of value to waterfowl and other wildlife shows how important wetlands are in meeting society's need for clean water, as well as providing habitat for ducks,' said DU Executive Vice President Don Young. 'This partnership will allow us to increase the acres of wetlands we can conserve for waterfowl.'

The United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

The clean water community is increasingly finding common ground with conservation groups on a host of issues, from clean water funding, wetlands initiatives, improved conservation measures in the upcoming Farm Bill, and cross-cutting issues between the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts, according to lobbyist and environmental lawyer Jim Range, who addressed the Clean Water Policy Forum.

NACWA represents the interests of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment works, which collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily. With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved.

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