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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Great Value in Duck Stamps

Revenue generated from duck stamp sales vital to wetlands, waterfowl conservation
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2009 Duck Stamp winning design

Joshua Spies from Watertown, S. Dak., took first place in the 2009 duck stamp competition with his acrylic oil painting of a male long-tailed duck floating with a decoy.

Clearly, additional conservation revenue is needed to meet the challenges facing wetlands, grasslands, and waterfowl. If proposed duck stamp price increases are approved, annual sales of 1.5 million stamps would generate a total of $37 million a year. From a waterfowl habitat perspective, this revenue increase could acquire an additional 6,800 acres of waterfowl habitat and permanently protect another 10,000 acres of habitat on private lands each year. Ducks Unlimited is also working to help close the funding gap through its Rescue the Duck Factory (RDF) campaign, which has the ambitious goal of raising $40 million in new private gifts to secure easements on threatened native prairie in the Dakotas. Every dollar contributed to the RDF campaign will be matched by at least three dollars from duck stamps, NAWCA, and other sources, providing an excellent return on our conservation investment.

In addition, DU is lending its support to proposed legislation that would renew provisions of the Wetlands Loan Act. This legislation, first enacted during the early 1960s, allows the USFWS to borrow money against future duck stamp revenues to acquire more land today while habitat is still available and affordable.

In these challenging economic times, the first reaction of many waterfowl hunters might be to oppose an increase in the price of the duck stamp. And there will certainly be those who feel the increased cost simply isn't worth it. In past years when duck stamp prices have taken effect, stamp sales have declined by up to 10 percent from the year before. But hopefully, most if not all dedicated waterfowl enthusiasts will see the long-term value of buying duck stamps and will advocate for a price increase rather than bemoan the cost. In this way, Ducks Unlimited members can be an important part of ensuring that funding is available to protect waterfowl habitats in a timely way and then wisely manage these lands for wildlife and people in the future.

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