House committee bolsters historic conservation program
The House Natural Resources Committee is sending an historic change to the Federal Duck Stamp to the House floor—a bill to increase the buying power of the stamp for the first time in 18 years.
Under the bill, the stamp's price would be adjusted to $25 for the 2010-2011 edition, allowing proceeds from stamp sales to keep up with skyrocketing land values across the country.
Land values have been far outstripping the purchasing power of the $15 stamp—in North and South Dakota breeding grounds, land values have increased more than 200 percent since 1991. In Minnesota land values have more than quadrupled.
"This is an important step for conservation," said Scott Sutherland, director of governmental affairs for Ducks Unlimited. "The diminished buying power of the duck stamp is hamstringing the efforts of millions of conservationists that are investing in the program to protect waterfowl habitat."
Ducks Unlimited helps clean up Wisconsin waters
A joint project between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Ducks Unlimited will improve wetlands on Big Muskego Lake, enhancing habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife while also improving water quality.
Ducks Unlimited engineering staff surveyed the area and designed a unique shallow wetland that will be developed to slow water flow and trap sediment from lake discharge. Once complete, the project will allow for future de-watering of Big Muskego Lake to improve wetland habitat for wildlife while minimizing sedimentation impacts to Wind Lake, a downstream recreational lake.
While properly maintained wetlands like Big Muskego Lake are critical to clean water in Wisconsin, they remain in peril as long as the Clean Water Act has been weakened by recent Supreme Court rulings. Gildo Tori, director of public policy at Ducks Unlimited's Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office put the problem in perspective: "People should understand that the threat of diluted legislation is just as dangerous to clean water as a chemical spill or an invasive species."
Bill to encourage conservation gaining steam
More than 190 U.S. Representatives are cosponsoring the Conservation Easement Initiative Act of 2009 – that's nearly half of the House of Representatives!
This bill would extend incentives for private landowners to conserve their land with the help of groups like Ducks Unlimited and other conservation organizations. See if your member of Congress has signed on and take action today if he/she hasn't!
Members of Congress will be back in their home states and districts during August, making it the perfect opportunity to ask them to support this conservation bill if they haven't already, or thank them if they are one of the nearly 200 that have.
Ducks Unlimited welcomes Missouri habitat expansion
Senior Ducks Unlimited volunteers are celebrating the latest expansion of the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge near the Missouri River. The 502-acre expansion adds stopover habitat for migrating ducks and geese, as well as ponds for largemouth bass, crappie, gar and catfish.
The addition was made in the Overton Bottoms Unit of the Refuge complex, which covers about 3,000 acres. Ducks Unlimited Missouri State Chairman Tom Shyrock lauded the addition, saying, "the real story here, in my opinion, is that the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge will benefit people forever in water retention and water quality."
U.S. Senate confirms Hamilton as new head of Fish and Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a new head. Sam Hamilton has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency.
Hamilton brings more than three decades of experience to the agency that oversees the National Wildlife Refuge System and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, among other critical waterfowl habitat programs.
Dr. Alan Wentz, senior group manager for conservation, marketing and communications for Ducks Unlimited, had this to say about Hamilton when he was nominated: "Sam Hamilton is not only a strong wildlife professional, he also is an advocate for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-based recreation. Ducks Unlimited is very happy to see that a highly qualified professional has been selected as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and we look forward to continuing our long-term working relationship with Sam."
- Learn more about Sam Hamilton
Liberal seasons recommended nationwide
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recommending liberal limits in all four flyways for the upcoming hunting season. Highlights of the proposed frameworks include: a full season on pintails with a one-bird daily bag limit in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central flyways, a two-bird daily bag limit in the Pacific Flyway and a full season on canvasbacks with a one-bird daily bag limit offered nationwide. Additionally, the FWS is proposing a bag limit of two scaup in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central flyways for the full season and a bag limit of three scaup in the Pacific Flyway for 86 days.
States will take these recommendations into consideration as they set their seasons later this year. For a full list of the proposed limits and seasons in each flyway, as well as the Status of Waterfowl report, visit http://www.flyways.us.