MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Sept. 21, 2010 – In a letter applauding the Obama administration for its America's Great Outdoors initiative, Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall also included the organization's recommendations for the initiative going forward.
The AGO concept was designed to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. Members and supporters of DU took part in 20 of the AGO listening sessions held across the country from June to September. DU is especially interested in seeing the AGO initiative advance conservation of key wildlife habitats that are at jeopardy across the nation and has presented these recommendations at the various sessions.
"At DU, we believe it is critical that important wildlife habitats across the country remain intact and be secured from development or be restored," Hall said. "Our national heritage of wildlife and other renewable resources is at risk unless we devote more financial resources to their future. Wildlife-related recreation, such as hunting and wildlife viewing, are deeply meaningful for those who participate in such activities and are important to the nation's economy. We anticipate this aspect of America's Great Outdoors will receive thorough consideration in the crafting of the final report and plan," Hall said.
Particularly important to DU is the protection of critical habitats in the Prairie Pothole Region in the North Central States. The grasslands, native prairies and wetlands of the PPR support between 20 and 30 million breeding waterfowl, making the PPR the most significant breeding waterfowl habitat in the world. However, between 50 and 90 percent of the potholes in some regions have been lost or severely degraded, and since 1984, researchers estimate that nearly 194,000 acres of native grasslands have disappeared in the region—a trend that continues today.
"All of DU's recommendations include programs and initiatives that are both beneficial to waterfowl and will promote, support and sustain the goals of America's Great Outdoors," Hall said. "We look forward to working with the Administration and its agencies on these programs, and offer our assistance and expertise as requested, particularly on waterfowl, wetland and grassland-related projects. Many of these efforts require Congress to take action, and we are already working with them to shape and implement program legislation," Hall said.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit 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.