The impact reduced duck populations would have on waterfowl hunting would be dramatic. Currently, the USFWS bases waterfowl season lengths and daily bag limits largely on the population of breeding mallards as well as the number of ponds counted in Prairie Canada. Reductions in midcontinent mallard populations of 25 to 30 percent would result in shorter seasons and smaller daily bag limits in the Mississippi and Central flyways. Greater declines in populations of mallards and other prairie-nesting species could result in closed hunting seasons during some years.
DU is working hard to help ensure that never happens. Using wetland and waterfowl survey data collected by the USFWS along with cutting-edge land cover mapping technology, DU has identified the most productive landscapes for breeding waterfowl in the U.S. portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. DU has also located the tracts of remaining native prairie that are at greatest risk of conversion to cropland (see map on page 72). This information helps DU carefully target its conservation work in the most important places and ensures that every dollar contributed to DU provides the greatest return on the investment.
"By supporting DU's Rescue the Duck Factory campaign, you can make a real difference for the ducks and the future of our sport," says DU Executive Vice President Don Young. "It's imperative that we act now because powerful forces are converging against the ducks and their habitats. DU stands ready to meet this challenge, but we need your help. With your support, we can rescue the Duck Factory and fulfill DU's vision of filling the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever."
To make a gift to DU's Rescue the Duck Factory campaign, please contribute online at ducks.org/helptoday.