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World Leader in Wetlands Conservation

Policy News: Vol. 3, Issue 20

Top stories for May 24, 2011
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SUPPORT THE DUCKS: Reach out to your members of Congress during recess

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The best way to ensure conservation programs are properly funded in the future is to tell your senators and representatives that you support programs that protect waterfowl. (Photo courtesy Gary March)
Next week, both the U.S. House and Senate chambers will be in recess in observance of Memorial Day. During this period, the majority of these elected officials will return to their respective states and districts to meet with their constituents to discuss current events and issues. 

Whether it is through attending a town hall, requesting a meeting or making a phone call, DU encourages you to contact your members of Congress next week and ask them to support the ducks by supporting the funding of conservation programs in FY 2012. 

Key conservation programs, like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, have seen serious reductions in FY 2011. The best way to ensure these programs are properly funded in the future is to tell your senators and representatives that you support conservation programs that protect waterfowl. 

To see the full list of public policy issues and initiatives that DU supports, click here


Make Your Voice Heard! Take Action Today!

You don't have to travel to Washington, D.C. to make your voice heard by Congress. Ducks Unlimited encourages you to speak up for waterfowl by urging your members of Congress to support the following issues: 

North American Wetlands Conservation Act: This program has conserved more than 25 million acres of waterfowl habitat in less than 20 years. Lend your support for NAWCA funding in the 2012 budget.

Gulf Coast Restoration: The Gulf Coast provides wintering and stopping grounds for more than 10 million ducks and geese. If we do not conserve these crucial areas now, the Gulf's rich waterfowling tradition could be lost forever. Ask Congress to Direct Oil Spill Fines Back to Gulf Coast Restoration.

Conservation Tax Incentives: These incentives help conserve your land for future generations—and get help on your taxes—ask members of the House and Senate to support Conservation Tax Incentives today! 


DU lauds federal legislation to protect North Fork Habitat in Montana

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The North Fork Watershed plays an important role in creating quality habitat for local and migrating waterfowl. (Photo courtesy Tom Reichner)
In Montana, the North Fork Watershed plays an important role in creating quality habitat for local and migrating waterfowl; making it essential that this area's water quality is properly protected. Since protecting wetlands and other waterfowl habitats is a top priority for Ducks Unlimited, the organization is pleased with a bill recently introduced by Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester that provides water quality protections for the North Fork Watershed. 

"The legislation will protect the water quality of downstream flows to key wetlands in this drainage area. This is a critical staging area for migrating waterfowl and supports more than 50,000 waterfowl each year," Robert Sanders, DU manager of conservation programs for Montana said. "For example, the region's large number of small wetlands has been known to support one of the highest densities of nesting redheads in the U.S." 

Most of the land in the Flathead Valley is federally owned, with miles of grassland dotted with hundreds of small wetlands. The Intermountain West Joint Venture Coordinated Bird Conservation Plan and numerous federal and state level bird conservation plans list this valley as a priority landscape for waterfowl and other birds. 

"It is imperative water quality in this key area be maintained," Sanders said, "and DU supports the North Fork legislation as a way to ensure water quality is maintained for these important habitats."

The bill will be considered at a hearing to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 25.


2011 National Wetlands Award Winners Announced

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Rio de la Vista received the 2011 National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration. (from L-R: Dr. Rick Coleman and Rio de la Vista)
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The Environmental Law Institute also presented Scott House, who has also collaborated with DU on conservation projects, with the 2011 Landowner Stewardship Award. (from L-R: Dr. Diane Gelburd and Scott House)
Every year, the Environmental Law Institute recognizes individuals who are champions of wetlands conservation. Not only has this group of award winners provided valuable research and collectively protected thousands of acres of wetlands, but their hard work and determination have inspired people across the nation to become more involved in conserving wetlands. 

"Conserving wetlands is critical to protecting waterfowl and other wildlife," said DU Governmental Affairs Representative Caroline Garrett, who also served on the ELI's award selection committee for 2011. "Everyone who received awards tonight has played a pivotal role in ensuring that our nation's wetlands are properly protected and are available to be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts across the country." 

The following award winners were honored on May 4 during a special ceremony at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.
  • Janet Morlan –State, Tribal and Local Program Development Award
  • Scott House—Landowner Stewardship Award
  • Margaret H. Sedlecky—Education Outreach Award
  • Loren M. Smith—Science Research Award
  • Rio de la Vista—Conservation and Restoration Award
  • Todd Miller—Wetland Community Leader Award
Rio de la Vista, in Del Norte, Colorado, has worked for the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust with organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and others to achieve permanent protection of private, working ranches, many of which act as buffers for habitat on public lands. Scott House's property at Bearitage Farms in Cherry Valley, Ark., has been restored using a number of USDA conservation programs and he has collaborated with Ducks Unlimited on several aspects of the project. 

Since 1978, ELI has been advancing the dialogue on wetlands law, science and policy through conducting research, publishing newsletters and by hosting conferences in an effort to increase awareness and education on wetland conservation. To learn more about ELI and its mission, visit www.eli.org
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