Ducks Unlimited and Clean Water

Clean water policy significantly impacts waterfowl


Photo © Michael Furtman


Millions of acres of waterfowl habitat at risk

Millions of acres of wetlands are in danger of being polluted or drained because they are considered "geographically isolated"—even though these areas are critical for America's drinking water and waterfowl habitat. 

Ducks Unlimited is supporting efforts to protect these wetlands for people and waterfowl, ensuring that these habitats aren't lost to us permanently. DU needs your help to secure these wetlands now and forever, and protect them from pollutants and destruction.

When Clean Water Act protections were removed from "isolated" wetlands in 2001 (SWANCC Report), critical waterfowl habitat, especially breeding ground in the Prairie Pothole Region, were threatened. Ducks Unlimited's conservation staff explains why no wetland is truly isolated from the surrounding ecosystems and why our support is essential to restore protections for waterfowl habitat.

Learn about the importance of Clean Water protections for wetlands

Why Wetland Protections Matter to Hunters

Protecting our nation's waters and wetland is critical for maintaining waterfowl populations. Due to recent Supreme Court decisions, Clean Water Act (CWA) protections have been withdrawn from well over 20 million acres of wetlands including prairie potholes, playa lakes and other small wetlands. Clean water wetland protections must be restored to our remaining wetlands. Read more about clean water and hunting

Reports highlight threats to wetlands and waterfowl habitat

Several reports, compiled by Ducks Unlimited and partners, shows threats to wetlands that are no longer covered by the Clean Water Act. Studies were conducted in Tennessee and Colorado, as well as other states, that identify threatened bodies of water that could be drained, polluted, or destroyed. These areas are vital not just for waterfowl and wildlife, but also for clean drinking water as well

Read the reports here:

EPA publishes map of threatened wetlands

The Environmental Protection Agency recently published maps identifying where threatened surface water sources are located.  These areas were once protected under the Clean Water Act, however they have lost their protections and could be polluted, drained, or destroyed - and threaten millions of American's drinking water as a result.

Visit the EPA website to find if your drinking water is at risk: EPA Surface Drinking Water Map.


  • 98%: Percentage of waters of the United States not truly navigable as defined by the most recent CWA guidance
  • 2: The number of 500-year floods in the last 15 years in the Midwest; loss of wetlands only makes these types of floods more common
  • 500: The approximate number of EPA enforcement cases since July 2006 negatively affected by the confusion surrounding the current CWA guidance
  • 50%-90%: The number of prairie potholes in some areas that have already been lost or severely degraded
  • 80,000: The number of acres of wetlands the United States continues to lose every year
  • 470: Tons, in millions, of soil lost in the most recent floods; taxpayers will foot the bill to dredge soil and sediment from river systems