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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Policy News: Vol. 3, Issue 9

Top stories for Mar. 9, 2011
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Great Lakes staff meets with Congress to express concerns

GLARO lobbies

GLARO Director of Public Policy Gildo Tori; Teri McCarthy of the Wege Foundation; Jennifer McKay of Tip of the Mitt; Mark Van Putten of Great Lakes Funders; GLARO Director Becky Humphries; and Melinda Koslow of the National Wildlife Federation joined in Washington, D.C., to lobby congressmen, senators and their staffs on critical federal programs that affect the Great Lakes region.
Staff from Ducks Unlimited's Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office, including new GLARO Director Becky Humphries, traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby congressmen, senators and their staffs on critical federal programs that affect the Great Lakes region

DU joined with other advocates as a part of the Healing Our Waters annual Great Lakes Days. Specifically, DU staff supported funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). These programs are in jeopardy of having their funding cut or eliminated by Congress, which would have a negative impact on waterfowl habitat restoration projects across the continent. 

"The GLRI provides funding for local restoration projects in the Great Lakes region, including 19 separate projects DU is implementing," said Gildo Tori, director of public policy at GLARO. "GLRI initially received $475 million in 2009 and $350 million in 2010. The House of Representatives recently passed a continuing resolution that would reduce the funding to $225 million. We knew it was important that DU representatives lobby members of Congress and their staffs to eliminate these cuts and fund GLRI so that DU's waterfowl habitat restoration projects in that area may continue."

Along with these projects in the Great Lakes, DU also is restoring habitat using federal funding from NAWCA. NAWCA's funding was zeroed out by the same continuing resolution, reducing the budget from $47 million to $0. North America's waterfowl rely on the habitat restored through NAWCA in all 50 states and throughout Canada and Mexico.

If you want to help DU's efforts to restore funding to GLRI and NAWCA, please contact DU's Governmental Affairs Office at 202-347-1530 or e-mail Caroline Garrett at cgarrett@ducks.org.

DU's Southern Region stresses importance of public policy efforts at LA Coastal Experience

LA Coastal Experience

Participants in DU's Louisiana Coastal Experience ventured into the field to see firsthand some of the habitat, solutions and problems facing this critical migratory region.
Ducks Unlimited recently held its first-ever Louisiana Coastal Experience, a three-day event designed to educate major sponsors from around the country about the threats to the Louisiana coastal landscape, as well as the role of public policy in DU's efforts to protect this critical migratory region.

"It's vital to protect and restore coastal Louisiana for waterfowl continent-wide," Dr. Tom Moorman, DU director of conservation planning, said. "Telling people about the importance of coastal Louisiana, about its incredible habitat and cultural values isn't enough. Showing people firsthand, letting them experience the wonders of this area for themselves, is the best way to get them involved."

During the classroom portion of the experience, DU staff discussed the importance of local, state and federal policy decisions in creating a sustainable Louisiana coast, the role of science in guiding DU programs on the coast and the ways in which DU works on the ground to restore habitat in Louisiana. Participants then ventured into the field to see some of the habitat, solutions and problems firsthand. Many took their first ride in an airboat out to the Gulf of Mexico to witness the extreme rates of beach erosion. The group watched and learned about resident mottled ducks, non-migratory waterfowl that depend on Gulf Coast marshes year-round. The group also viewed water control structures designed to control salinity within marsh impoundments and witnessed the stark contrast between managed areas and those unprotected from erosion and saltwater intrusion. 

Gaining support for sound policy decisions from constituents across the country is one goal of the Louisiana Coastal Experience. Because of the scale of coastal loss in Louisiana, national-level policies are vital to restoring the sustainability of this ecosystem. 

"Coastal Louisiana is important to people everywhere," Bob Dew, DU manager of conservation programs in Louisiana, said. "If you hunt ducks, we probably winter them here. If you like seafood, we probably caught it here. If you put gasoline in your car, we probably collected it, refined it or transported it through Louisiana. The loss of Louisiana's coastal wetlands is not a Louisiana problem. It's a world problem."

Virginia congressman praises DU's efforts to restore NAWCA funding 

Wittman

DU Life Sponsor Rep. Rob Wittman (VA) attended DU's Virginia state convention and praised DU's efforts to restore funding for NAWCA since its funding was zeroed out in the continuing resolution in the House of Representatives. (photo courtesy washingtonpost.com)
Ducks Unlimited's Virginia state convention in late February featured a special address by Rep. Rob Wittman (VA), a regular at DU events in Virginia and Washington, D.C., and one of waterfowl's top advocates in Congress. Rep. Wittman is also a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, the group that approves the spending allocations of several federal programs, including the federal duck stamp and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

Rep. Wittman, who is a DU Life Sponsor, took the opportunity to praise DU's recent efforts to restore funding for NAWCA since its funding was zeroed out in the continuing resolution in the House of Representatives. Rep. Wittman opposes this action and has pledged to continue his support of DU's efforts to restore the funding. 

"Congressman Wittman's continuing support of DU, along with his words at the Virginia state convention, demonstrate that DU's public policy efforts are paying off. We must continue these efforts if we want to reverse decisions that will negatively affect valuable conservation programs," said Bernie Marczyk, governmental affairs representative at DU's Great/Lakes Atlantic Regional Field Office in Annapolis, Md.
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