Montana ranks third in duck production in the lower 48 states. When the glaciers melted, they left millions of natural depressions—these are the prairie potholes. Just fill these potholes with snowmelt and rainfall, mix with Montana sunshine and the ducks will come.
For many ducks, Montana lies at the northern end of the annual migration route that takes ducks thousands of miles through the food-rich interior of the United States to the wetlands of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, Gulf Coast and Central Valley of California. Unfortunately, nearly one-half of Montana's wetlands have been drained or filled, reducing the capacity of the region to attract and sustain breeding ducks. An immediate threat is the continuing loss of grassland nesting habitat. Less grass means fewer nest sites that are safe from predators and a mix of predatory mammals that are decidedly "duck unfriendly."
Fortunately, our conservation investments are paying off. DU has restored, enhanced and protected 77,659 acres in the state. Most of Montana's wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas and state wildlife management areas have felt the helping hand of a DU project. DU continues to innovate with land purchases that protect critical habitats, and conservation easements that enable our conservation partners and us to sustain habitat cost effectively while maintaining it in private ownership. Montana is part of the Preserve Our Prairies and the Peaks to Prairies initiatives. This vital work is only possible because of your involvement with Ducks Unlimited.