Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited has been committed to waterfowl habitat conservation in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In Canada alone, DU has completed more than 9,560 habitat projects, securing 6.4 million acres and positively influencing 116 million acres.
Along with their dedication to conservation, Ducks Unlimited Inc. and Ducks Unlimited Canada share a strong waterfowling heritage. One prime example of this connection occurs in the Atlantic Flyway, where waterfowl produced in Ontario and Quebec are harvested by hunters all along the Atlantic coast. DU Canada and DU Inc. are working closely in this flyway to meet the habitat challenges faced by this continentally shared waterfowl resource.
One major contributor to DU's conservation efforts in the Atlantic Flyway is the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' State Contributions to Canada Program. Since the program's inception in 1965, Atlantic Flyway states have contributed over $9.9 million to high-priority conservation programs in Canada. These dollars are matched by Ducks Unlimited and again by federal funding through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Canadian funding partners to further conservation efforts.
In Quebec, the provincial government, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Quebec Wildlife Foundation, and corporate sponsor ArcelorMittal are working with DU and other partners to help fund a key project in Canada's eastern Boreal Forest. Located at the mouth of the Yamaska River, the 289-acre Saint-Louis Marsh provides crucial wetland habitat in the Baie de LavalliÃ¨re area on the south shore of Lac Saint-Pierre in the St. Lawrence River floodplain. The marsh is part of the Ramsar-designated Lac Saint-Pierre Wetland of International Importance and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The region is also one of DU Canada's highest-priority conservation areas, hosting thousands of migratory birds each year, from gadwalls and wood ducks to common terns and American bitterns, as well as more than 20 species of fish.
In 2011, DU Canada kicked off a five-year, $835,000 enhancement of Saint-Louis Marsh, funded in part by the states of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Vermont through the state contributions program. The goal of the project was to enhance the marsh's existing healthy habitat for the birds and other wildlife that visit the area each year. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 and will include the construction of more than three miles of dikes and the installation of a new water-control structure and pumping station. -Deanne Drouillard, DU Canada, and Sarah Fleming, DU Inc.