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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Ducks Unlimited Signs Agreement with USDA

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Memphis, TN, July 27, 2004--Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and showcased a wetland restoration project in southern Minnesota this week. The event kicked off an official five-year cooperative partnership between the conservation entities.

Pictured (L to R) are:
Seated :  Don Young and NRCS Chief Bruce Knight
Standing:  Bill Hunt (NRCS MN State Conservationist), David Seykora (landowner whose Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) site the MOU signing took place), Jim Connaughton (Chairman of President Bush's Council on Environmental Quality), MN State Senator Dennis Frederickson, and Jim Killen (Landowner of adjacent WRP tract and wildlife artist).

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair James Connaughton joined the ceremony and conservation tour that highlighted the success of programs like the Wetland Reserve Program.

The event took place at the Straight River Marsh Wetlands in Owatonna, Minnesota. Remarks were made by DU Executive Vice President Don Young, NRCS Chief Bruce Knight, James Connaughton and State Senator Dennis Frederickson about the importance of working together to advance waterfowl and other wildlife habitat conservation and restoration activities with public and private partners.

“Today’s MOU signing marks a renewed partnership that has brought about positive change to the North American landscape. Together, we’ve (DU and NRCS) worked with private landowners in the United States to conserve and restore thousands of acres that benefit wildlife in the country,” said Don Young, Executive Vice President of Ducks Unlimited.

USDA conservation programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program offer incentives to private landowners to protect, restore and enhance essential wetland and grassland habitats.  Activities covered by the agreement include waterfowl and habitat conservation projects, habitat restoration, technical assistance, implementation of the conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, delivery of information and educational materials, collaboration on habitat and wildlife research, and development of habitat enhancement techniques.

“We are honored to officially recognize our shared continental strategy for the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of wetlands and associated upland habitat. We look forward to the next five years of conservation teamwork to take on the challenges that lie ahead and continue our track record of success, said Young.

Contact:
Bob Benson
(901) 758-3859
bbenson@ducks.org

With more than one million supporters, Ducks Unlimited (www.ducks.org) is the world’s leading wetland and waterfowl conservation group. Wetlands are nature’s most productive ecosystems, but the United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands, and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres every year.

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