WASHINGTON – Sept. 24, 2009 – Ducks Unlimited Director of Public Policy Dan Wrinn issued a statement today in response to the Department of Agriculture's announcement of the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Waters Initiative:
"This is a tremendous initiative for restoring a watershed that millions of migrating waterfowl use every year. The Mississippi Alluvial Valley is the most important wintering habitat for mallards, and the lower portion of the Mississippi Delta winters 10-25% of the canvasbacks in North America.
"Restoring wetlands in the upper reaches of the watershed in Minnesota and Wisconsin will ultimately improve habitat both in the areas that the restoration took place, as well as thousands of miles downstream. Improving habitat throughout the watershed will also benefit the struggling Louisiana coast, where coastal wetlands are vanishing at an alarming rate.
"Ducks Unlimited has worked for years with farmers and landowners throughout the Mississippi basin to restore habitat throughout the flyway, where more than 700,000 migratory bird hunters contribute to the $2.3 billion that waterfowlers add to the U.S. economy every year.
"Millions of people throughout the initiative's dozen target states will benefit from cleaner water and healthier ecosystems, and waterfowl and waterfowlers across the nation will benefit from having better habitat."
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. It has conserved more than 12 million acres. 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.