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USA - Water and Natural Infrastructure Get Major Boost in End-of-Year Deal

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 will direct important resources to ecosystem restoration projects, water conservation, and natural infrastructure projects.

Thanks to sustained bipartisan support, the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) will be enacted as part of the omnibus appropriations legislation passed this week. WRDA is critically important because it authorizes projects and programs led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study, design, and construct water transportation and infrastructure projects including the restoration and maintenance of wetlands and watersheds critically important to birds and the flood resilience of communities.

Audubon was pleased to see inclusion of robust support for natural infrastructure projects and programs. Natural infrastructure projects— such as restoring wetlands, oyster reefs, and coastal forests — reduce climate threats to communities from flooding and sea-level rise, and also provide important habitat for wildlife.  Federal investment in natural infrastructure increases preparedness of coastal communities and economies and creates local jobs.

“The passage of WRDA 2020 shows that protecting and conserving our water resources continues to be an issue where both parties can find common ground,” said Sarah Greenberger, interim chief conservation officer and senior vice president for Conservation Policy. “The natural infrastructure provisions included in WRDA 2020 will bolster efforts to provide climate resilience benefits to communities and habitat for birds at the same time.”

Audubon worked with coalition partners throughout the WRDA process to support projects in the Everglades, the Mississippi River basin, the Great Lakes region, the Rio Grande watershed, and the Chesapeake Bay.

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