By Becky Humphries and Gildo Tori
Throughout Ducks Unlimited's 75-year history, we have maintained a steadfast commitment to protecting and restoring North America's most important waterfowl habitats. And DU would not have been able to accomplish all that we have for wetlands and waterfowl without the cooperation and support of our many partners. Partnerships help DU leverage our supporters' hard-earned dollars with funds from other sources and maximize different capabilities and talents to achieve results that are truly exceptional. In fact, Ducks Unlimited rarely completes a conservation project on its own. Our conservation work usually involves at least one partner, and typically more.
DU's partners run the gamut from individual donors and corporations to other conservation organizations and government agencies. Partners contribute to conservation projects in a variety of ways. Contributions can include the use of a piece of land for a project site, technical expertise for work on the ground, community support for a particular project, long-term management of the completed project, and of course cash to help cover the cost.
State fish and wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are among DU's most important governmental partners. These agencies not only provide financial support for DU's conservation work, but also often own the land on which many of our projects are located. DU has completed thousands of habitat projects on state and federal lands, but we wouldn't have been able to complete any of them without the cooperation and support of these land-managing agencies. Working together, DU and our state and federal agency partners have built an extensive habitat network that not only helps sustain waterfowl but also benefits other wetland wildlife (more than 900 species have been documented on DU projects). In addition, sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts benefit immensely from this habitat, much of which is open to the public for hunting, fishing, and other forms of recreation.