Top stories for Jan. 26, 2010
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Ducks Unlimited leader nominated for ambassadorship
Senior Ducks Unlimited volunteer Tod Sedgwick has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Slovak Republic. Sedgwick is a board trustee for the Wetlands America Trust (WAT), DU's supporting foundation that raises significant philanthropic gifts and manages DU's endowments and land holdings.
"We are very proud that someone close to our organization has been recognized by President Obama as worthy of such an important appointment," said Randy Graves, Ducks Unlimited's chief executive officer. "Tod's commitment to integrity and passion for service made him an excellent choice. We congratulate him and wish him all the best."
The ambassador position is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Plane crash claims lives of waterfowl biologists
Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl biologists were killed in a plane crash last week near the Oregon coast.
Vernon (Ray) Bentley and David (Dave) Pitkin were returning from Newport, Ore., after a day spent flying over estuaries counting ducks, geese and swans for the Service's annual mid-winter waterfowl survey when their plane went down west of Philomath, Ore.
"Ray and Dave were lost while contributing to the critical body of science that guides the best and most successful wildlife management model in the world," said Dr. Alan Wentz, Ducks Unlimited senior group manager for conservation and communications. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Ray and Dave and to the rest of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in this time of sorrow."
Improvements to California refuge to help hunter access
A new Ducks Unlimited project on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge holds good news for waterfowl hunters. The project totals 84 acres and will enhance seasonal wetlands by removing and rehabilitating existing levees and creating pond bottom relief.
A series of channels and potholes will diversify the unit to provide improved wintering waterfowl habitat and water management capabilities. This project will include the reconstruction of 1 mile of perimeter levee, the removal of 0.25 miles of existing interior levee, excavating channels and potholes and creating loafing islands. This tract is used as a seasonal wetland to provide summer water management and wintering waterfowl habitat.
This work is in the refuge's public hunting area where improved waterfowl habitat will contribute to improved hunter opportunity.
New DU staff streamlining conservation for landowners
Two fresh faces at Ducks Unlimited are helping landowners in the Prairie Pothole Region "farm the best and conserve the rest" by working with them to identify the best conservation options for their land.
Heather Shaw and Krista Reiser are assisting farmers and ranchers in the North Dakota find conservation options that benefit their overall operations. "I am only going to recommend programs that, based on talking with the farmer and rancher, I think will meet the needs of their operation," said Reiser.
Reiser says the DU conservation program biologists are "go-to" people for conservation programs so landowners don't have to go from one agency to the next. "We want them to know there's one contact person who can point them in the right direction," she said.
"The goal of each of these programs is to enhance and protect natural resources, and several of them offer diverse options for improving wildlife habitat," said Shaw. "Our goal is to find common ground to enhance a producers operation and improve and protecting key habitat in the process."
New options to fund conservation in California
Funding to wildlife law enforcement in California has been reduced of late, so the state's Department of Fish and Game (DFG) recently began selling a Fish and Game Warden Stamp Decal. This voluntary decal may be displayed on vehicles, boats, RVs, store windows, etc., and is intended to be an ongoing means to raise supplemental funds for the DFG's 385 wardens, as well as a visible declaration of support for wildlife law enforcement. Funds from the $5.00 stamp/decal will be used to purchase new communications gear, surveillance devices and protective equipment, as well as fund specialized training and new law enforcement programs, such as the DFG's K-9 Program.
For more information about the new decal and how to buy one, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/wardenstamp.