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Ducks in the Desert Initiative

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On the surface, the wetlands of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona might not seem very important to ducks or duck enthusiasts. However, the scarce and priceless wetland oases in this arid region actually serve a surprising number of waterfowl and hunters. Wetlands dot the landscape in seemingly random patterns, yet each fulfills a critical role in waterfowl migration, breeding, and brood rearing.

Wetlands restoration through the Ducks in the Desert Initiative is Ducks Unlimited's plan to sustain these rare habitats. Supplying wetlands with water high in quantity and quality is DU's foremost consideration, as agriculture and inevitable population growth tax the limited water supply. Other issues such as bird health and invasive plants also factor into DU's plans for maximizing desert wetland acreage and water use.

While these three states are known for their big game hunting opportunities, resident duck hunters are much like the region's wetlands: rare but rich in tradition. Ducks Unlimited is working hard through the Ducks in the Desert Initiative to meet the unique challenges of preserving wetlands in this arid climate for the benefit of waterfowl, hunters, and other people.

The Great Salt Lake

Water quality and quantity are chief concerns for Intermountain West and Great Basin wetlands. In Utah, DU is focused on restoring Great Salt Lake wetlands by improving thousands of acres of private and publicly managed habitats. On the Bear River, the largest freshwater component of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem, DU is partnering with the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge to develop a watershed conservation initiative that includes land protection and restoration. Continued loss of wetlands in this system will have extremely negative impacts on the Great Salt Lake's wetlands and waterfowl and the people who enjoy them, so funding this effort through Ducks in the Desert is critical.

DU's Five-Year Plan for Ducks in the Desert

Ducks Unlimited is seeking to raise more than $1.5 million in philanthropic funds from generous donors like you to achieve our conservation goals as part of the Ducks in the Desert Initiative. Funding derived from this initiative enables Ducks Unlimited to conduct important science, public policy, and outreach efforts, as well as conserving the breeding habitats important to waterfowl that utilize desert wetlands each year. DU's research and evaluation efforts are the foundation upon which our direct conservation programs and our policy and outreach work are based.

Like many of us, ducks enjoy wintering in the arid climates of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, provided there's enough food and water to sustain them while they're away from their northern breeding grounds. Canada's boreal forests and prairies are where millions of waterfowl are hatched each year—the very cradle of life for the ducks of the Pacific Flyway. Ducks Unlimited is working to identify and protect the most important boreal wetland habitats and address ongoing threats to the U.S. and Canadian prairies.

A gift to DU's Ducks in the Desert Initiative will support projects close to home, but also will ensure that the precious breeding grounds on both sides of the border will be protected before restoration is required. Ducks Unlimited has worked across North America since 1937 to ensure a strong future for the continent's waterfowl and for waterfowl hunters. Birds don't recognize borders and neither do DU's conservation efforts.

Rare Jewels on the Nevada Landscape

DU's main areas of concern in Nevada involve wetland complexes in Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the east and the Stillwater/Carson Sink and Lahontan Valley in the northwest. These rare wetlands serve as migration, staging, and wintering grounds for many waterfowl, making them important resources for recreationists and the local economy.

Waterfowl are a continentally shared resource, and Ducks Unlimited has worked across North America since 1937 to ensure a strong future for ducks and for waterfowl hunters. By contributing to DU's Ducks in the Desert Initiative, you will be supporting important waterfowl habitat conservation in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, as well as the breeding grounds of the Western Boreal Forest of Alaska and Canada, where the vast majority of birds are produced before beginning their journey to the wintering grounds of the lower Pacific Flyway.

Ducks in the Desert Initiative at a Glance

Five-year Goals (FY 2012-16)
Habitat Delivery: 6,362 acres
Public Revenue: $2.2 million
Philanthropic Revenue: $1.5 million
Total Revenue Goal: $3.7 million

Initiative States: 
Arizona, Nevada, and Utah

Conservation Focus:
Migrating waterfowl depend heavily on the surprisingly diverse desert habitats of the western United States as they traverse the northern hemisphere each year. The loss of these life-saving oases would have a significant impact on waterfowl populations in the Pacific and Central flyways, so DU continues to develop conservation opportunities in these areas.

Cross-border Conservation

Migratory waterfowl are a shared continental resource and know no borders. Thus, DU must work across North America to ensure a bright future for waterfowl and the people who enjoy them. By contributing to DU's Ducks in the Desert Initiative, you will be supporting critical waterfowl habitat conservation in the Ducks in the Desert Initiative area, as well as priority breeding grounds of the Western Boreal Forest, of Alaska and Canada, where the vast majority of birds are produced before beginning their journey to the wintering grounds of the lower Pacific Flyway. 

The Ducks in the Desert Initiative Needs You Now

Your gift to Ducks Unlimited is invaluable, and it is truly the greatest contribution you can make to secure the future of wetlands and waterfowl. Every dollar you give to Ducks Unlimited is leveraged multiple times to create a conservation impact far beyond your initial gift. In addition, we invest at least 80 cents of every dollar received in our conservation mission. Start making a difference right now for waterfowl, outdoorsmen, and future generations of wildlife and people by making your gift to DU's Ducks in the Desert Initiative. Help conserve more than 6,000 acres of North America's desert wetlands and associated habitats with your gift today.

Don't wait. Call DU at (916)852-2000 today to speak with fundraising staff in your area.

Make an online gift.

Download a printable PDF for this initiative

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