HELENA, Mont., May 23, 2011 –
Ducks Unlimited is supporting legislation that will have a positive impact on waterfowl habitats and protect the North Fork of the Flathead Drainage in Montana
. The bill, the North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2011 (S.233), was introduced in the 112th Congress by Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester.
Sen. Baucus will present the bill at a hearing to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on May 25.
“The legislation will protect the water quality of downstream flows to key wetlands in this drainage area. This is a critical staging area for migrating waterfowl and supports more than 50,000 waterfowl each year,” Robert Sanders, DU manager of conservation programs for Montana said. “For example, the region’s large number of small wetlands has been known to support one of the highest densities of nesting redheads in the U.S.”
Most of the land in the Flathead Valley is federally owned, with miles of grassland dotted with hundreds of small wetlands. The Intermountain West Joint Venture Coordinated Bird Conservation Plan and numerous federal and state level bird conservation plans list this valley as a priority landscape for waterfowl and other birds.
“It is imperative water quality in this key area be maintained,” Sanders said, “and DU supports the North Fork legislation as a way to ensure water quality is maintained for these important habitats.”
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.
Becky Jones Mahlum