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Policy News: Vol. 2, Issue 49

Top stories for Dec. 7, 2010
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DU applauds Ashe nomination as director of Fish and Wildlife Service

Dan Ashe
Dan Ashe, a senior manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years, has been nominated to become the next director of the agency.

Dan Ashe, a senior manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years, has been nominated to become the next director of the agency.

Reacting to President Obama's nomination of Ashe, Dale Hall, chief executive officer of Ducks Unlimited and a former director of the Service, had this statement: "I have known and worked with Dan Ashe for more than 15 years. Dan is a strong supporter of the wildlife resource. Ducks Unlimited looks forward to working with him as the next director of our important partners in the Fish and Wildlife Service."

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had this to say about Ashe's nomination: "As a senior manager with the Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years, Dan has experience leading many of the agency's programs, including the National Wildlife Refuge System and the migratory bird program," Salazar said. "He is an outstanding choice to ensure the Service's programs are both innovative and science-driven as we face the challenges of managing our fish and wildlife resources in the 21st century."

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ashe would succeed Sam Hamilton, who died last February. Rowan Gould has served as acting director since February 2009.

Ashe has served as the Service's deputy director since August 2009. From 2003 to 2009, he was the science advisor to the Service's director with broad responsibility in providing counsel and leadership in developing the agency's scientific policy and scientific applications for resource management.

DU senior volunteer encourages adults to take kids hunting, fishing at "Let's Move!" briefing

Bruce Deadman, DU senior advisory vice president for youth and education, attended a morning briefing last week at the White House outlining First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" program, a comprehensive initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. Representatives of government, schools, faith-based and community organizations, nonprofits, private companies and the sports and recreation industry were invited to the private meeting. Ducks Unlimited was one of only a handful of groups representing conservation and hunting interests.

Bruce Deadman
Bruce Deadman, DU senior advisory vice president for youth and education, represented DU at the "Let's Move!" briefing Dec. 1 at the White House.

The focus of the session was to explain the goals of "Let's Move!" and the ways different organizations from both the public and private sectors can cooperatively work to combat childhood obesity and encourage kids to spend more time in the outdoors. Breakout sessions gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the barriers and opportunities their organizations have encountered in getting youths to be more active.

Several attendees suggested the initiative stress active lifestyles rather than focusing directly on childhood obesity. Attendees were in agreement that there needs to be significant parental/guardian education, "buy in" and involvement for the initiative to succeed.

"We really do need to see adults stepping up to the plate, because getting kids involved in outdoor activities such as bird watching, fishing and hunting is especially difficult where there is no parent or other significant adult to teach, encourage or mentor the child," Deadman said. "One of DU's top priorities is to encourage people, especially children, to spend more time connecting with the outdoors, and this program has the potential to make some real progress in that direction."

Further meetings are planned, and DU will be appropriately engaged. Visit www.letsmove.gov for more information about the "Let's Move!" program.

DU acquires Minnesota lake habitat thanks to Outdoor Heritage Fund grant

Minnesota's Pelican Lake
Ducks Unlimited recently acquired a 60-acre tract on Pelican Lake in Wright County, Minn., which, after restorative work by DU, will be managed by USFWS as a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Ducks Unlimited recently acquired a 60-acre tract on Pelican Lake in Wright County, Minn., with a generous grant from the Outdoors Heritage Fund, as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and in partnership with Pheasants Forever and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The tract sits adjacent to an existing USFWS waterfowl production area and adds 3,000 more feet of protected shoreline on Pelican Lake. The funding originated from the ballot initiative passed by Minnesota voters that created the Outdoor Heritage Fund in 2008. DU supported that effort.

Pelican Lake is a legally designated wildlife lake and is historically one of the premier waterfowl lakes in Minnesota. Due to its proximity to Minneapolis and the I-94 corridor, the lake's shoreline is being threatened by development. The lake has a robust history of staging high numbers of waterfowl in both fall and spring and has an equally rich waterfowl hunting heritage. The lake has no natural outlet, and above-normal precipitation and mild winters during the past 15 years have led to prolonged fish survival, degraded water quality and a loss of waterfowl habitat.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to construct an outlet channel and pump system to manage water levels to improve and maintain the optimum conditions for migratory waterfowl. Through DU's Living Lakes initiative, DU is providing assistance with engineering and efforts to protect Pelican Lake shoreline.

DU will donate this new property to USFWS, which will manage it as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. The area will be open to public hunting.

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