WASHINGTON, D.C., May 13, 2011—
Funding of critical land conservation efforts, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act
, is in jeopardy and a variety of public land supporters must get involved to help prevent major reductions on these initiatives, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall and several other DU leaders this week.
Salazar's comments came during a town hall-style meeting in Washington, D.C., where conservation leaders from around the country discussed the challenges facing conservation programs as negotiations on the FY 2012 federal budget begin in Congress.
Reacting to the meeting, Hall said, "Land conservation programs
are an essential element for producing waterfowl. To ensure these programs are adequately funded, DU supporters and other sportsmen must tell Congress this is important to them. National wildlife refuges, forests and other public areas produce waterfowl and provide hunting
In addition to Hall, DU leaders from Delaware, Indiana and South Carolina attended the meeting to demonstrate their support for waterfowl habitat conservation
The meeting served as a sounding board for a variety of organizations concerned with land conservation. Those attending the meeting represented recreationists (hikers, bikers, boaters), historic heritage preservationists (protecting battlefields, etc.), industry and business representatives, and hunters and anglers. Senior officials from previous Republican administrations attended the meeting and also voiced strong support for conservation and recreation funding.
"Regardless of their political affiliation or interest group, attendees strongly support the continued funding of land conservation for recreation and historic preservation," said Scott Sutherland, director of DU's Governmental Affairs Office. "During this time of budget challenges, groups must work together to ensure cost-effective conservation programs are not taking excessive cuts."
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.