USDA decision protects vital waterfowl habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region
WASHINGTON, October 1, 2007 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Secretary Chuck Conner announced last Friday that there would be no penalty-free early releases from Conservation Reserve Program contracts. The decision will help maintain critical waterfowl, upland bird and other wildlife habitat.
“We are thrilled that Secretary Conner has affirmed the administration’s support for conservation by not allowing these early releases from CRP contracts,” said Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young. “This will keep more habitat on the ground for waterfowl, as well as providing economic, and soil and water quality benefits for farmers and ranchers.”
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in the Prairie Pothole Region of Montana and North and South Dakota is some of the most productive waterfowl habitat in the world. CRP land in this region contributes more than 2 million ducks annually.
This is the recent equivalent of how many ducks hunters take in the Atlantic Flyway or the combined annual kill by duck hunters in Texas and Arkansas.
Conservation Reserve Program lands also provide key habitat for other wildlife, including pheasant, deer, quail and hundreds of other species.
CRP also benefits landowners and the public by removing more than 48 million tons of carbon dioxide from the air, reducing soil erosion and improving water quality.
“We are very pleased with the announcement today,” said DU Director of Agriculture Conservation Policy Barton James. “We look forward to working to with Secretary Conner on this and other conservation measures.”
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.
MEDIA RESEARCH ALERT:
• Neil Shader
Conservation Policy Specialist
• For more information please see http://www.ducks.org/farmbill