KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 18, 2011 –
Pictured (l-r): DU CEO Dale Hall; MDC Dir. Bob Ziehmer; DU Canada Senior Conservation Advisor Mike Anderson; DU Chief Biologist Dale Humburg; MDC Wildlife Division Chief DeeCee Darrow
With this year's state grant program contribution of $250,000, the Missouri Department of Conservation reached the $5 million mark for donations to waterfowl breeding grounds in Canada. With the support of MDC during the past five years, Ducks Unlimited conserved, enhanced and restored 235,059 acres of prime breeding habitat and positively influenced an additional 1.2 million acres.
"The MDC partnership with Ducks Unlimited is one of the strongest and most effective in the nation," Mark Flaspohler, DU manager of conservation programs for Missouri, said. "Their commitment to the state grants program is just one manifestation of that partnership."
The state grants program represents a unique international funding partnership that preserves critical waterfowl habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada, while working toward achieving the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Contributions from the states are matched by DU Inc. and DU Canada, as well as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
"It is the committed support of partners like the Missouri Department of Conservation that makes waterfowl conservation and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan a success," DU CEO Dale Hall, said.
DU Canada uses a combination of strategically targeted direct programs, agricultural extension and public policy efforts to advance its conservation goals. Direct habitat programs such as land acquisition and conservation easements help secure the remaining habitat base and provide restoration opportunities. Agricultural extension programs focus on adding nesting cover and/or improving wetland conditions, while the promotion of waterfowl-friendly agricultural practices provides positive economic benefits to producers.
"MDC's investment in Canadian waterfowl habitat yields direct, tangible returns for Missourians," said MDC Director Bob Ziehmer. "Leveraging our contribution and money from other states four-to-one lets us put $2 million into protecting critical nesting habitat that sends millions of ducks winging down the Mississippi Flyway to Missouri and beyond each fall."
Waterfowl band recovery data has established a clear link between waterfowl produced and banded in Canada's PPR and subsequently harvested in the Mississippi Flyway. Priority habitats in Manitoba stand out as a primary Canadian source of ducks harvested in Missouri.
"The conservation of this vital habitat will ensure Missouri hunters experience strong waterfowl flights from Manitoba for many years to come," Tom Shryock, DU Missouri state chairman, said.
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.