A More Secure Future for Wetlands
The federal agencies’ interpretation of the Supreme Court rulings has made it clear that passing legislation will be the only way to remedy the confusion and delays and restore protection to the nation’s wetlands before many more thousands of acres are irretrievably lost. The CWA is the “safety net” for the nation’s wetlands, and restoring decades-old wetland protections that the federal agencies have chosen to withdraw is essential to securing the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.
The nation must also continue to provide strong support for important wetland- and waterfowl-friendly, science-based programs that farmers and other landowners use to voluntarily protect and restore wetlands across the landscape. WRP and NAWCA are two examples of programs that conserve thousands of acres of wetlands every year and replace a portion of those that are lost. If the nation is ever to begin gaining wetlands, programs such as these will be pivotal.
Finally, the central element of Ducks Unlimited’s 70-year-old conservation mission is to continue to work with farmers, landowners, state and federal agencies, and countless other partners to protect and restore habitats important to waterfowl across North America. The nation’s hunters and other waterfowl enthusiasts expect this of us, and we take the responsibility seriously. But we know that this is a huge task, and powerful forces have priorities that conflict with those of sportsmen and women. We also know that providing a more secure future for the nation’s wetlands and North America’s waterfowl populations requires hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers, and many others with a stake in these resources to get actively involved. Just as the nation’s wetlands are all linked in one way or another, so too is everyone who cares about the ducks, other wildlife, fish, and the many other societal benefits that the nation’s wetlands provide to us all.
Dr. Scott Yaich is director of conservation operations at DU national headquarters in Memphis.