by Joe Goergen
In its 80th year, the federal duck stamp is at its lowest buying power.
Last increased to $15 dollars in 1991, the stamp's price has not been accurately adjusted for inflation. While the cost of land has tripled, the stamp has lost 40 percent of its value. As our wetlands dwindle, the work of Ducks Unlimited and conservationists across the country is more important than ever. A bill was introduced in the Senate in 2013 to increase the stamp's price to $25.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Mark Begich from Alaska says that this "bill provides a necessary and fair adjustment to keep the duck stamp program productive and beneficial to conservationists and sportsmen." If passed, this action will be a major investment in habitat restoration, the conservation of North America's wetlands and the preservation of our waterfowl hunting heritage.
The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the duck stamp, is an early American conservation success story. Since its establishment in 1934, the iconic duck stamp has stimulated competition among waterfowl artists and inspired public awareness on the value of conservation in practice. The duck stamp program has helped conserve over 6 million acres of critical waterfowl habitat. Out of every dollar collected by the stamp, 98 cents go directly to habitat conservation in the field. These wetlands not only provide a healthy landscape for migratory birds and recreational waterfowl hunting, they control flooding, improve water quality and protect our coastlines from storms. The revenues from stamp sales are vital to the mission of Ducks Unlimited and the management and restoration of North American wetlands.
I was introduced to Ducks Unlimited by my father, Glenn, at a young age in Milwaukee. He taught me the value of the outdoors and to respect the ducks we hunt. I encourage DU readers to promote this legislation and to educate others on the duck stamp price increase. Contact the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee, or your local representatives and ask them to support conservation by supporting a price increase to the duck stamp.
Visit www.ducks.org/stamp-stories to submit your own testimony of support for the duck stamp.
Joe Goergen will be a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans and is interning in the DU Governmental Affairs Office this summer.