As you have noticed, Southern Region staff have risen to the occasion to address the potential impacts of the oil spill on wetlands and waterfowl. Actually, by the time you receive this edition of the newsletter, DU staff will likely be hard at work in Texas and Louisiana coastal habitat to increase water for millions of fall migrants heading to the Gulf Coast. Yes, we are much more than ducks, but our focus remains on the waterfowl resources that drive our passion for DU’s mission.
A number of our staff are assigned to the Gulf Coast Response Team. At least in the short term, Dr. Tom Moorman is finding that his responsibility as Team Leader is more than a full time job. Southern Region staff will continue to balance any additional responsibilities as a result of being on the Team with their normal duties prior to the oil spill.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail blast from a non-profit organization attempting to raise money using an oiled pelican as the lead. You have noticed that DU remains focused on the “big picture” issues and populations. I am confident that you are, as I am, very proud of the approach that DU has taken to address the tragic loss of life, economic impacts on individuals and communities, and the overall disruption of a way of life as a result of the oil spill.
Ducks are busy raising broods and will soon be staging for their trip south. Our successes in directing dollars to the breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada are paying dividends. No, our job is not complete, but we are making progress toward ensuring suitable waterfowl breeding habitat for the long term.
In FY10, which closed June 30th, the Southern Region will conserve more than 55,000 acres at a cost of almost $20 million. Public source dollars are providing 83 percent with the balance from major sponsors and direct allocation.
The SRO budget for FY11 was approved at the Board of Directors meeting held in conjunction with the National Convention in Grapevine, Texas. Our staff are already hard at work to conserve more than 31,000 acres at an estimated cost of $19 million. Public source dollars are providing $16 million with the balance from major donors and other DU sources.
As on the breeding grounds, our job on the wintering grounds is not complete. We have made significant progress, but events like the recent oil spill should remind us that we must stay the course to ensure that waterfowl will find sustainable wintering habitat in the Southern Region today, tomorrow and forever.
I encourage you to continue to share your thoughts and ideas regarding DU, the Southern Region and waterfowl. Our strength is based upon continuing what works and making adjustments to meet the challenges of the future. The future of waterfowl lies on our shoulders, and we must not rest until that future is secure.