Vice President and USDA Secretary announce incentives for wetlands and waterfowl at historic conference
RENO, NV – October 3, 2008 – Waterfowlers and conservationists received good news from Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today, as he announced new incentives for wetlands conservation on private land in a speech given to the attendees of the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Conservation Policy. The new incentives are part of the popular Conservation Reserve Program, one of the most successful conservation programs ever.
“The Conservation Reserve Program is hugely important, and this announcement is great news for waterfowlers,” said Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice-President Don Young. “In addition to encouraging conservation across the country, one of the incentives is directly aimed at the Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas and Montana, which is also known as America’s Duck Factory.”
Vice-President Dick Cheney was also on hand to deliver good news: the President’s 2004 goal of restoring, improving, and protecting 3 million acres of wetlands was achieved a year ahead of schedule. In addition Cheney also announced a new goal of 4 million additional acres over the next five years.
Secretary Schafer also informed the audience that there would be an additional 7 million acres of conservation land opened to hunters. “This is excellent news for waterfowl hunters,” said Young. “Habitat loss and access are the biggest threats to America’s sporting tradition, and the Department of Agriculture have continued to address both of them with this announcement.”
The announcement from Vice-President Cheney and, Schafer were the capstone of the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Conservation Policy, which brought sportsmen and conservationists from across the country together to address the challenges facing America’s hunting and angling legacy.
Young and Ducks Unlimited volunteers and staff participated on panels and discussion groups that dealt with the future of America’s outdoor heritage. In addition, Young addressed reporters on a new Ducks Unlimited initiative called “Rescue the Duck Factory.”
“With millions of ducks and geese being reared in the grasslands and potholes of North and South Dakota and Montana, and with these ranchlands and arid prairies being put under increased pressure for development and crop production, Ducks Unlimited has initiated a new campaign to raise $40 million to protect these areas forever for ranching and waterfowl,” said Young. “Between the commitment of our members and supporters, and the USDA’s renewed commitment to CRP, and the Administration’s new wetlands goal, the future for waterfowlers is looking better and better.”
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres important to waterfowl each year.