Top stories for October. 6, 2009
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Majority of both parties supporting conservation easements
A majority of both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives support extending a popular conservation tax incentive that is set to expire at the end of the year.
More than 230 Members have co-sponsored a bill from Reps. Mike Thompson (Calif.) and Eric Cantor (Va.) – a majority of the House and a majority of members from each party – to permanently extend incentives for private landowners to donate conservation easements to non-profit organizations like Ducks Unlimited. The landowners still own the land, and waterfowl and wildlife benefit from better habitat.
A strong finish is needed from Ducks Unlimited supporters to take this bill from a widely supported proposal into a waterfowl-benefiting law.
Please take a moment to contact your members of Congress and either thank them for their support and ask them to make sure that the bill gets a vote on the House and Senate floor, or request that they too co-sponsor the bill to extend conservation easement tax incentives.
Congress keeps wetlands enhancement bill moving
A bill to enhance the North American Wetlands Conservation Act is moving ahead, as the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 3433 and sent it to the House floor for a vote. Ducks Unlimited Director of Governmental Affairs Scott Sutherland testified in a hearing on the bill and lauded the passage of the bill by the Committee.
“The North American Wetlands Conservation Act is one of the most successful conservation programs in history – and the improvements that Committee approved today continue that tradition,” said Sutherland. “By expanding the funding sources available to match federal grants, as this bill does, critical wetlands and waterfowl habitat can be conserved more efficiently for the benefit of people and wildlife.”
Read more about the House Natural Resources Committee Vote
NAWCA puts habitat on the ground in all 50 states. One example of work underway is a NAWCA project in South Carolina where more than 8,000 acres in the South Carolina Lowcountry will be restored or improved with a $1 million grant through NAWCA that is being paired with more than $3.2 million in matching contributions.
“Over 27 percent of South Carolina's original wetlands have been lost,” said Craig LeSchack, Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Programs. “In response to this dramatic decline, DU established the South Carolina Lowcountry Initiative over 20 years ago to curtail the continuing loss of important wetland habitat. Today the Initiative is a nationally recognized wetlands conservation effort that covers 3 million acres across 14 coastal counties in cooperation with the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.”
Project partners include the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Wetlands America Trust, the Yawkey Foundation, and a private landowner.
Read more about the South Carolina Project
Ducks Unlimited recognized for great work in the Great Lakes
Ducks Unlimited received the 2009 Lake Erie Award for an outstanding organization at the fall meeting of the Lake Erie Commission. The award is given to an organization that made outstanding contributions to enhance Ohio's Great Lake.
Ohio Congressman Bob Latta acknowledged DU achievements in the area. “As a lifelong sportsman, and on behalf of all sportsmen in Ohio's Fifth Congressional District, I would like to congratulate Ducks Unlimited for receiving the 2009 Ohio Lake Erie Award. Ducks Unlimited works tirelessly to ensure sportsmen across Ohio can continue to enjoy the rich traditions of hunting by promoting and practicing conservation policies that protect and preserve our valuable natural resources. It is only fitting that the time and effort put forth by Ducks Unlimited and its members be recognized with this prestigious award. Because of their extraordinary efforts, Ducks Unlimited continues to protect our proud traditions can so that they can be passed along to future generations of sportsmen.”
Read more about the award
Ducks Unlimited teaching future conservationists in Pacific Northwest
Much of the work Ducks Unlimited does is to ensure sustainable populations of waterfowl into the future. As part of that investment in the future, a handful of high school biology students and Ducks Unlimited volunteers are taking to the woods to study local wood duck populations.
Ducks Unlimited Snoqualamie, Washington chapter member Ted Burris and high school science teacher Joelle Nelson are leading students at the Skyline High School into the woods for a study of native wood duck nesting behavior in Sammamish, Washington.
Introducing the next generation of conservationists to the outdoors is a priority for Ducks Unlimited. DU volunteers hold Greenwing events across the country, and DU has supported federal legislation to encourage more outdoor education in our schools.
Read more about the Skyline High School students