Ducks Unlimited Joins Rally For Minnesota’s Wetlands and Waterfowl
ST. PAUL, MINN., March 31, 2005 − A rally targeting the long-term decline of Minnesota’s wetlands, lakes, streams and duck populations marches on the state capitol on Saturday, April 2 at 10 a.m. Ducks Unlimited joins more than 30 outdoor and conservation organizations to encourage the Minnesota legislature to enact sweeping changes to natural resource management within the state.
"Minnesota contains one of the most important migration corridors in North America, particularly for lesser scaup, which have steadily declined during the last 20 years," DU's Executive Vice President Don Young said. "DU’s international presence is a great strength, because it allows us to restore and protect critical waterfowl habitat in Canada and the Dakotas that sends ducks to Minnesota every year, as well as the work we’re doing in Minnesota through our Living Lakes Initiative to help restore, protect and enhance the breeding and migration marshes that are important to Minnesota duck and goose populations.”
Ducks Unlimited is at the forefront of wetland restoration in Minnesota. Its Living Lakes Initiative, launched in 2004, is establishing perpetually protected and managed wetland complexes from Keokuk Pool in southeastern Iowa through northern Minnesota. These wetlands provide waterfowl food and habitat resources as ducks travel this migratory pathway each year.
According to Young, in order to reverse the significant decline of Minnesota’s waterfowling, DU believes that shallow lakes must be restored, conserved and protected so that these wetlands will attract and support migrating waterfowl. DU’s long-term goal in Minnesota is to protect, restore and enhance 500 shallow lakes in 18 emphasis areas across the state. The bulk of that work will occur during the next 10 years with the completion of work on 300 lakes and their related watersheds covering 81,000 acres at a cost of $30 million.
“DU’s strength is its science driven, solutions-oriented approach to conservation. Restoring and protecting waterfowl habitat is how we’re addressing some of the problems that are limiting duck numbers in Minnesota, but we can't do it alone,” Young said. “Partnerships with state and federal conservation agencies, as well as private landowners are critical, and DU is working to strengthen those existing partnerships to help bring the birds back to Minnesota. This will benefit ducks and duck hunters.”
With pressure on wild rice lakes from shoreline development, forestry practices and intensifying agriculture, the Living Lakes Initiative will also address water pollution in area lakes. DU has more than 43,000 members in Minnesota and has conserved more than 131,000 acres and spent almost $22 million in the state.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands, nature’s most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year.