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DU scientist, member brief congressional committee on impact of oil spill to waterfowl

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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2010 – This past Friday, more than 150 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate staffs, representatives from a variety of national news programs and other organizations attended a Ducks Unlimited briefing regarding the Gulf Coast oil spill and its potential impacts on waterfowl.

Captain Ryan Lambert and Dr. Tom Moorman
Capt. Ryan Lambert (left) and Dr. Tom Moorman, director of conservation planning for DU's Southern Region, at "The Future of a Sportsman's Paradise" presentation on Capitol Hill.
Dr. Tom Moorman, DU’s lead scientist for the Gulf Coast, and Capt. Ryan Lambert, a south Louisiana fishing and hunting guide, gave a presentation titled, “The Future of a Sportsman’s Paradise - Post Gulf Coast Oil Spill.”
 
During the briefing, Moorman revealed the impacts that the oil could have on the estimated 13.7 million ducks that migrate to the coastal region in some years. “What’s at risk for ducks is what’s at risk for the birds you are seeing on the news right now,” said Moorman. “The other possibility is that oil comes into the marshes and the wetlands and kills the food sources. In that case, birds are going to show up, not find food and then scatter in search of other habitats.”
 
Lambert took the opportunity to encourage the administration to take the necessary steps to restoring and protecting Louisiana’s wetlands, steps that he feels should have been taken a long time ago. “As the years have passed, our way of life has been increasingly threatened due to the erosion of our wetlands,” said Lambert. “Now, with millions of gallons of oil entering this fragile ecosystem from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, never before has our national treasure been in more jeopardy than it is now. It is apparent that it is time for us to turn to you for the help we need to save our precious wetlands and our way of life.”
 
Scott Sutherland, director of DU’s Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., emceed the briefing. “We organized this presentation because we felt it important that policy makers understand what DU and waterfowl enthusiasts may be facing this fall as waterfowl migrate to the Gulf,” said Sutherland. “That’s especially true as Congress makes decisions and provides guidance on the government’s response and plans to repair damage from the spill."

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Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Lauren Oxner
(901) 758 – 3851
loxner@ducks.org

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