Rescuing the Duck Factory—the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Iowa where millions of ducks are raised—involves a host of conservation efforts, from targeted fundraising and working with farmers and ranchers to enacting federal policies that protect prairie waterfowl habitats. DU's Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., works with Congress, federal agencies, and other top government officials as well as DU volunteers, members, and staff to ensure that the prairie breeding grounds continue to add millions of ducks to the fall migration every year. This year will be no different as DU continues to promote legislation that benefits waterfowl and waterfowlers.
Going into an election year is always a tricky proposition. All of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate will be elected or reelected in 2010, so the time frame for enacting new legislation or even passing annual appropriations bills to fund current programs is very short. Thankfully, first steps have already been taken on many of DU's policy priorities for improving conservation in the PPR. DU's number one goal is to wrap up initiatives aimed at helping to rescue the Duck Factory this year. These public-policy priorities include:
Protecting potholes from pollution and destruction
The Clean Water Restoration Act that would protect wetlands including prairie potholes and playa lakes passed a Senate committee in June 2009. Wetlands like these, which may be geographically isolated on a map, contribute to local water tables and provide drinking water for millions of Americans in addition to being great habitat for waterfowl and wildlife. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House by Congressman James Oberstar (MN).