In 2011, exceptionally wet weather and abundant waterfowl habitat on the prairies helped total duck numbers in the traditional survey area reach the highest level since waterfowl surveys began in 1955. While this is great news for duck hunters, DU CEO Dale Hall cautions that waterfowl and their habitats still face an uncertain future. "As a waterfowler, I'm encouraged by this year's population survey results. However, unprecedented water conditions are only part of the story. Water without nesting cover does little to improve the future of waterfowl," Hall says. "As good as the news is this year, waterfowl and prairie habitats continue to face significant long-term threats. Grassland habitat is under siege on many fronts and is being lost at alarming rates. Key public policies such as the Farm Bill
and North American Wetlands Conservation Act
must continue to support conservation efforts in order for the good news to carry into the future. That's our challenge in years to come."