The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) of 1989 provides matching grants to private and public organizations or to individuals in partnerships for wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. NAWCA was passed largely to support activities under the NAWMP. NAWCA is overseen by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, which reviews and recommends project proposals to the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which in turn, approves projects for funding.
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) was developed in response to sustained wetland loss and record low waterfowl populations in the 1980s. Recognizing the importance of waterfowl and wetlands and the need for international cooperation to help in the recovery of a shared resource, the United States and Canadian governments worked with states, provinces, and private organizations to develop a strategy to restore waterfowl populations through habitat conservation. In 1986, the U.S. and Canada signed the plan, and Mexico signed in 1994. International in scope, the plan is implemented regionally within Joint Ventures which are regional areas of importance to waterfowl. Its success is dependent upon the strength of Joint Venture partnerships, involving federal, state, provincial, tribal, and local governments, businesses, conservation organizations, and individual citizens.