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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Policy News: Vol. 1, Issue 8

Top stories for July 21, 2009

Be an advocate for clean water in your hometown

With members of Congress heading home in a few weeks, there is no better opportunity to meet your elected officials back in your hometown. Town hall meetings, county fairs and other community events are a perfect chance to tell them what issues are important to you as a conservationist.

Restoring Clean Water Act protections to millions of wetlands that have lost them is the top policy priority for sportsmen across the country. Wetlands like prairie potholes, where millions of ducks breed every year, are currently left without Clean Water Act protection—and members of Congress can fix that.

Ask your members of Congress to:

  • Protect wetlands and streams from being polluted and/or destroyed
  • Protect the $2.3 billion that waterfowlers contribute to the U.S. economy every year
  • Ensure that landowners aren't subject to costly delays to work their land
  • Support restoring Clean Water Act protections to what they were in 2001

The Senate has already taken the first steps to protect clean water by passing the Baucus-Klobuchar Compromise for Clean Water in June. Now is the time to ask your members of Congress to finish the job and ensure that clean water protections are restored.

To find out when your members of Congress will be in your hometown, check their Web sites at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov, or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121.

Waterfowl havens enhanced by North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Wintering waterfowl will have nearly 700 acres of new habitat when they reach the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex this winter, thanks to two projects funded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

Morgan Brake NWR and Panther NWR will both have projects put on the ground by Ducks Unlimited to repair levees and convert abandoned catfish ponds into prime waterfowl habitat. While the area that the projects are in will not be open to hunting, an additional 800 acres of land in the Panther Swamp will be open to hunting this year for the first time.

Western wetlands saved

A proposal to run high-voltage power lines across wetlands in California's Central Valley is being cancelled—much to the relief of waterfowlers and waterfowl throughout the state. The proposed power lines would have disrupted part of the 250,000 acres of wetlands remaining in the Central Valley, which is home to 60 percent of waterfowl in the Pacific Flyway.

Ducks Unlimited is working with the Transmission Agency of Northern California to find new routes for the power lines that will not adversely affect waterfowl. "We believe it is possible to minimize environmental impact of power lines, but TANC's proposal showed new lines running through some of the most important waterfowl habitat in the western United States," said Dr. Rudy Rosen, director of operations for Ducks Unlimited's Western Regional Office.

Leaders of congressional sportsmen renew call for conservation

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are calling for an extension of a popular habitat conservation program that saves taxpayers money. Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus co-chairmen Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.) and Paul Ryan (Wisc.) have renewed the call to help landowners conserve their land for future generations. 

Legislation to extend incentives for landowners to put their land into conservation easements expires at the end of the year, so Boren and Ryan are spearheading an effort to attract support to a bill from Congressman Mike Thompson (Calif.) and Eric Cantor (Va.) that would continue this popular and effective conservation tool.

"My family decided to place a conservation easement on our family farm to ensure that future generations would still be able to use the land for hunting and recreation," said Boren. "It is a decision that I hope other Americans will make so that we protect an important part if our way of life."

House unanimously endorses conservation bill

In a 400-0 vote, the House of Representatives voted to expand the popular and effective Joint Ventures program. In 23 years, joint venture projects have conserved nearly 16 million acres of waterfowl and migratory bird habitat across the country.

Paul Schmidt, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's assistant director for migratory birds, described the joint ventures during a hearing in May as "among the most successful collaborative conservation efforts in wildlife conservation history."


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