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Policy News: Vol. 1, Issue 1

Top stories for June 2, 2009
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National magazine identifies Clean Water Restoration Act as top issue for sportsmen

Field & Stream magazine, one of the nation's largest publications providing news and information for hunters and anglers, has identified the Clean Water Restoration Act as the top policy priority for sportsmen. Millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams are vulnerable to pollution and destruction. Losing these wetlands would devastate waterfowl populations, as more than 20 million acres have now been left unprotected by the Clean Water Act.

The Obama administration has announced strong support for the Clean Water Restoration Act. In letters from the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior, the EPA Administrator and the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to key congressional leaders, the administration urged Congress to act quickly to protect both landowners and wetlands.

If you have not done so already, we need you to take action to let Congress know clean water is important to waterfowl enthusiasts.

The Clean Water Restoration Act is being debated in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where a vote is expected as soon as June 4. Ducks Unlimited supporters have sent more than 3,600 messages to their members of Congress to advocate protecting geographically isolated wetlands that produce millions of ducks and geese every year.

Check out DU's Clean Water Action Center for all the latest updates, sample letters to the editor, fact sheets and other resources – and take action now to protect wetlands and waterfowl habitat!


Winter wheat: sustainability in action for farmers, waterfowlers

Ducks Unlimited and Bayer CropScience are partnering to promote winter wheat – a crop planted in the fall instead of the spring – to farmers across the grain belt. Winter wheat is a boon to waterfowl, which can use the crop to nest and rear young. Studies show nest success in areas planted with winter wheat is 35 times greater than with nests built in traditional spring crops. And winter wheat crops tend to produce better harvests than their spring counterparts, according to agronomy experts.

To further raise awareness of the benefits for both farmers and waterfowl, DU and Bayer CropScience have formed the "Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action" partnership. This joint venture will encourage more farmers to utilize winter wheat and promote more research into waterfowl friendly crops.

DU Agronomist Blake Vander Vorst and wheat growers from North and South Dakota recently visited Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress to encourage more support from them and the federal government for sustainable crop initiatives like winter wheat that benefit both farmers and wildlife.


Minnesota governor signs historic conservation act

Ducks Unlimited members and supporters in Minnesota are cheering the passage and signing into law of a historic conservation act: the Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota state constitution.

Under the amendment, a statewide sales tax of 0.375% will be in place for 25 years, with the proceeds going directly to conservation efforts and heritage programs throughout Minnesota. It is estimated that more than $77 million will go to outdoor and water-resource projects in the next year alone, conserving more than 200,000 acres of wildlife habitat.

Ducks Unlimited and its partners will put some of this habitat on the ground, including more than 5,000 acres of wetlands and uplands and 1,200 acres of waterfowl production areas. A DU proposal also would restore or enhance more than 6,000 shallow lakes and associated wetlands and prairie.

Ducks Unlimited members and supporters played a critical role in passing the amendment in the 2008 election, educating Minnesotans about the issue and clearing the way for historic investment in conservation.

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