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Policy News 2.7

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Top stories for Feb. 16, 2010
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Public policy takes center stage at Wisconsin DU convention

Communicating Ducks Unlimited's policy message is an important responsibility, one for which we're all responsible. That was the message to senior volunteers and grassroots staff attending the 2010 Wisconsin DU convention in the Wisconsin Dells.

Presentations related to policy work were given by Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office staff, including Kristin Schrader, public affairs coordinator, and Gildo Tori, director of public policy for the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region.

Schrader spoke on the importance of being prepared to speak about Ducks Unlimited, advocating a ready script regarding the organization, its mission and one's participation in it. Tori gave updates regarding DU's position and work on two key policy issues: fixing the Clean Water Act and potential legislation regarding climate change.

"Policy decisions can make or break our conservation efforts," said Tori. "If every one of us in this room commits to be knowledgeable and engaged, we have the power to make real, positive change on behalf of wetlands and waterfowl."




Conserving habitat on both sides of the border

Iowa hunters have harvested more than 8 million ducks since 1973, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working with Ducks Unlimited and DU Canada to keep those birds flying south every year.

This year, the Iowa DNR is committing $36,000 to DU's state grants program, which is working to conserve waterfowl habitat in the Lightning Creek region of Saskatchewan. These funds are derived from roughly 15 percent of Iowa's migratory bird stamp sales.

The state grants program represents a unique international funding partnership that preserves critical waterfowl habitat in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada, while working toward achieving the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

The money will be matched by DU Inc. and DU Canada, as well as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to conserve land around Lightning Creek, the primary breeding location for ducks harvested in Iowa (see map).




New report shows threats to Colorado wetlands

Serious threats to wetlands and streams in Colorado could spell trouble for waterfowl and drinking water, according to a new report that highlights five case studies of at-risk water resources in the state.

The report, produced in part by Ducks Unlimited, identifies several water resources that are at risk of pollution, drainage or destruction as a result of lost Clean Water Act (CWA) protections.

One example of these threatened resources is a geographically isolated playa wetland – similar to those found throughout the migratory corridors for waterfowl – that is no longer covered by the Clean Water Act. Without CWA protections, this wetland and many like it could be drained or destroyed, eliminating crucial migratory habitat in the Central Flyway.

Ducks Unlimited is committed to finding a solution to restore protections to wetlands like those detailed in the report. To learn more, visit the DU Clean Water Action Center.




Restored wetlands mean better water, less pollution for Iowa community

A project on the Kiowa Marsh wildlife Management Area in Early, Iowa, will provide benefits for both people and waterfowl. Ducks Unlimited and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently finished restoring a 45-acre wetland that will help filter pollutants from the Raccoon River downstream from the marsh.

"Wetlands serve as Mother Nature's kidneys. They are able to absorb and filter excess sediments and keep nutrients from entering downstream watersheds," said Eric Lindstrom, DU regional biologist for Iowa. "By restoring Kiowa Marsh, not only are we providing critical wildlife habitat, but we are also helping to reduce the amount of pollution that enters downstream waters."

The Iowa DNR estimates that the restoration project will prevent more than 650 tons of sediment from washing downstream every year and help trap and recycle more than 840 tons of phosphorus.

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