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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Policy News: Vol. 2, Issue 46

Top stories for Nov. 17, 2010
  • Scott Sutherland (left), director of DU's Gov. Affairs Office, presents the Wings over Wetlands award to Brian Gilson, maintenance manager of the U.S. - River Region for Lafarge in Fredonia, Kan.
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Kansas plant named 2010 Wings over Wetlands award winner

Ducks Unlimited and the Wildlife Habitat Council have announced the winner of the 2010 Wings over Wetlands award. The award will be presented to Lafarge for the habitat conservation work being conducted at their cement facility in Fredonia, Kan.

The Wings over Wetlands award was created by DU and WHC to encourage active corporate participation in wetland stewardship and to recognize those corporations that have excelled in restoring, protecting and managing wetland habitat on their sites. Lafarge's Fredonia Cement Plant has established a project that ensures perpetuation of existing wildlife values and adds to the future values as well. In addition, the community of Fredonia has responded favorably to the site, and the DU chapter in the area has become involved in the project.

DU enjoyed learning not only about what has been accomplished at this site, but of the plans for continued and expanded habitat management and community outreach. "It is evident that corporate support of enriching conservation values on their Fredonia facility is a goal for the employees at Lafarge," said Scott Sutherland, director of DU's Governmental Affairs Office, as he announced the award. "Plus, projects like these are definitely good for waterfowl."

Sutherland is a member of the WHC board of directors.

DU urges Congress to use majority of spill fines on Gulf Coast restoration

The Gulf Coast region's ability to support waterfowl is being severely compromised by natural and human-induced changes that are causing dramatic loss of wetlands and their associated functions and values. The Gulf Coast may winter upward of 14 million ducks and 2 million geese, making it one of DU's highest-priority habitat areas. DU and others are working to pass legislation that would devote a significant portion of the fines associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill back to Gulf Coast restoration.

DU has sent a letter to Congress and asked for immediate action to ensure that the penalties paid under the Clean Water Act will be directed to fund Gulf Coast restoration instead of feeding into the Treasury's general fund. CWA penalty funds are essential for the success and recovery of not only the people, economies and natural and cultural resources of the region but specifically to the wetlands and waterfowl populations in the area. Without investing in restoration, the Gulf Coast's already vulnerable communities remain susceptible to future disasters and slow decline, which is why this funding is significant. Since the 1930s, more than 2,300 square miles of Louisiana's vital marshlands have vanished. Every 30 minutes, another area of coastland the size of a football field disappears beneath the sea.

Gulf Coast wetlands

Recent polling shows that 78 percent of voters from the Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas say they favor creation of a special fund for the Gulf region and the Mississippi River Delta. "During the congressional lame duck session, Congress needs to act and make the region whole by directing the CWA penalties back to the Gulf Coast to restore wetlands and waterfowl habitat," Bart James, DU director of public policy, said. "Now is the time to act so waterfowlers up and down the flyways do not see and feel further consequences of the spill." Such a fund would include penalty payments for violating the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

Under current law, any penalties paid would be deposited into the federal treasury, even though the revenue is directly related to harm that occurred on the Gulf Coast.


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