Waterfowl conservation on the prairies must take place in a complex matrix of farmland, ranches, and protected areas. DU is centrally involved in resolving these issues and in directing its conservation programs to the wildlife management and agricultural practices that have long-term promise for breeding waterfowl. DU is fully engaged with provincial, state, and federal governments in developing water- and land-use policies that will sustain the agricultural community while, at the same time, providing for the long-term needs of waterfowl and other wildlife. By helping to resolve these issues through the development of forward-thinking programs such as the APF in Canada and Farm Bill regulations in the United States, DU is part of a landscape-altering movement that will provide lasting environmental, economic, and societal benefits to waterfowl, wildlife, wetlands, and people for generations to come.
The challenges and the landscapes are still enormous. If the long-term future of prairie ducks is to be secured, much remains to be accomplished on the prairies. DU has a top priority goal of protecting an additional 4.5 million acres of critical duck nesting habitat in the prairies. This work is well under way as members, foundations, agencies, and others are supporting DU's plan.
Despite the accomplishments of the past, the prairies remain under siege from many directions. We must quicken the pace and expand our habitat conservation efforts to assure the long-term health of prairie pothole landscapes if we are to continue to repeat the great story of waterfowl recovery following the inevitable dry periods of the future.
This article is part two in a four-part series, "Prairies Under Siege." Read part three here or go back to part one.