Duck populations up in 2009
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has good news for duck hunters - more ducks! An annual report on waterfowl populations shows an overall population increase for ducks, and many species show dramatic increases. Canvasbacks had the greatest increase, with 35 percent more surveyed this year than in 2008.
While population numbers are up, it was noted that this is an especially wet year, leading to a larger number of wetlands that are more productive for breeding. Long term conservation continues to be at risk, with more than 1 million acres already out of the Conservation Reserve Program, and another 3 million expected to be removed from the program by 2012. Furthermore, an estimated 3.3 million acres of breeding grounds on native prairie will be lost in the next five years.
Marsh makeover in motion in Iowa
A degraded wildlife management area (WMA) in Iowa is getting a new lease on life, as Ducks Unlimited and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources restore more than 230 acres on the Jemmerson Slough WMA.
New fish barriers and water control structures will help regulate water levels and keep out invasive fish, which had led to the degradation in the first place. The partnership with the Iowa DNR is part of Ducks Unlimited's Living Lakes Initiative, which works with state and local agencies to restore the small ponds and lakes throughout the Great Plains. These lakes are excellent for waterfowl and hunters, as they provide ideal habitat for many species of ducks and geese.
Ducks Unlimited leading restoration of iconic San Francisco Bay watershed
Ducks Unlimited is the recipient of a major grant to restore parts of the historic San Francisco Bay. The project will restore more than 1,300 acres of salt marsh that will provide habitat to migrating ducks and geese, as well as habitat for Coho salmon and steelhead.
"More than 30 species of waterfowl occur here, including 50 percent of the entire flyway's diving ducks and one of the largest concentrations of wintering canvasbacks on the continent," said Dr. Rudy Rosen, director of DU's Western Regional Office in Sacramento.
The grant was awarded to Ducks Unlimited by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and will create more than 50 full-time jobs in the area. DU's Western Regional Office staff worked to ensure that conservation projects, the original "green jobs," would be considered in the act.