Why Clean Water Wetland Protections Matter to Hunters

And actions DU supports to realize those protections
Protecting our nation's waters and wetland is critical for maintaining waterfowl populations. Due to recent Supreme Court decisions, Clean Water Act (CWA) protections have been withdrawn from well over 20 million acres of wetlands including prairie potholes, playa lakes and other small wetlands. Clean water wetland protections must be restored to our remaining wetlands. 

  • Small wetlands are critical to waterfowl because they provide essential resources for breeding, nesting and brood rearing portions of their life cycle.
  • Loss of the most at-risk wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakota could result in a 40 percent loss of breeding pairs of waterfowl from that region! Past loss of wetlands in Iowa and Minnesota resulted in more than an 80 percent reduction in waterfowl production capacity from huge portions of the pothole region.
  • Nearly 2 out of 3 mallards shot in the United States are produced in the Prairie Pothole Region.
  • If the CWA is not fixed and loss of wetlands continues, shorter duck hunting seasons and smaller bag limits could be a reality.
  • Migratory bird hunting produces nearly $2.3 billion in economic activity per year and supports 21,415 jobs based on a 2005 USFWS report.
Effective legislative protections would:

  • Restore protection to waters of the U.S. as they existed prior to the 2001 SWANCC Supreme Court decision, "nothing more and nothing less," as quoted by Senator Baucus (MT).
  • Not require a permit for duck blinds or any aspect directly related to duck hunting. In fact, the bill acknowledges the importance of hunting and fishing as economic drivers, and will not compromise that economic impact.
  • Continue to exempt normal agricultural activities and would add into law an exemption for prior converted cropland, thereby strengthening this provision for farmers.

Hunters from every state harvest ducks banded in the Prairie Pothole Region
Sportsmen's groups' clean water efforts focus on preventing the pollution of our nation's waters. These protections will not interfere with the rights of private landowners, ground water or the ability of farmers to work their lands.

If you care about ducks and duck hunting, contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them how important clean water and wetlands are to you.

Regional Contacts:

Southern Regional Office: Ashlee Ellis, aellis@ducks.org, 601.956.1936

Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office: Gildo Tori, gtori@ducks.org, 734.623.2000

Great Plains Regional Office: Carmen Miller, carmen.miller@ducks.org, 701.355.3516

Western Regional Office: Mark Smith, msmith@ducks.org, 916.852.2000