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Banding Together for Waterfowl

National Wildlife Refuges Vital to Wildlife and People

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Ducks Unlimited joined other conservationist groups in celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week on October 14−20. "Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge," said Paul Schmidt, DU's chief conservation officer. "Ducks Unlimited has worked with refuges across the country to ensure the restoration and conservation of waterfowl habitat. In turn, DU projects have helped preserve the unparalleled recreation opportunities offered by refuges, including hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing." 

Sales of federal duck stamps, which have not increased in price since 1991, generate approximately $25 million a year to purchase or lease wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck stamp funding each year is equivalent to approximately 5 percent of the total refuge budget ($485 million). Hunters 16 years of age and older must buy a federal duck stamp to hunt migratory waterfowl, and all duck stamp purchasers gain free admission to refuges. 

At the time of the last duck stamp price increase, gasoline was still selling for only $1 a gallon. Just as the cost of gas has increased, so has the price of land. As a result, the purchasing power of the duck stamp has not kept pace with inflation. DU is working with Congress to pass a bill to allow the price of the duck stamp to be raised to $25 for five years, providing much needed additional funding for the acquisition of threatened wetlands across the United States. 
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