Farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners have always been among DU's most valued partners. These land stewards work with us by protecting wetlands and other wildlife habitats on their property with conservation easements and by enrolling land in government programs such as the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Private landowners who voluntarily dedicate a portion of their property to wildlife habitat, forgoing other uses, are incredibly generous and important conservation supporters. Through its public policy work, DU helps ensure that federal and state funds are available to landowners who wish to enroll in conservation programs like WRP and CRP, and that tax laws are structured to reward landowners for good conservation stewardship.
These partnerships support what is known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which has its roots in more than a century's work by sportsmen and other dedicated conservationists. At the heart of the model is the idea that wildlife is public property and as such is a shared resource that must be conserved for the greater good. Partnerships are the glue that holds this collective conservation ethic together.
A Blueprint for Conservation
A spirit of collaboration is prevalent throughout the waterfowl conservation community. Nowhere is this more evident than in the blueprint for waterfowl conservation on this continent—the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). Signed by the United States and Canada in 1986 and later by Mexico, NAWMP was launched with the ambitious goal of reversing declining waterfowl numbers by protecting and restoring a habitat base sufficient to sustain healthy populations. To accomplish this goal, the plan called for a landscape-level approach to conservation on a continental scale, which necessitated international cooperation across North America. The plan also encouraged an array of partnerships in both the public and private sectors, establishing a spirit of cooperation that has resulted in more waterfowl across this continent. Because of its success, NAWMP has also served as a model for other conservation initiatives worldwide. And Ducks Unlimited has been proud to foster and support the spirit of participation and cooperation that is the foundation of NAWMP.