VDGIF to support Canadian habitat projects

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Ducks Unlimited in September to join the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies State Grants Program. The MOA was signed at the Ducks Unlimited Virginia Granders Society Event outside of Richmond on the banks of the James River. Ducks Unlimited Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt signed on behalf of Ducks Unlimited.

Virginia will contribute $25,000 a year for five years to fund habitat projects in eastern Canada. Their contribution will be matched by Ducks Unlimited and leveraged through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), resulting in at least $100,000 a year for conservation projects. Habitat conservation efforts will begin in the eastern portion of Canada and focus on habitats important to black ducks that stage and breed in this area and winter in Virginia.

"This is Virginia's inaugural participation in the state grants program, which funds North American Waterfowl Management Plan habitat projects in Canada," Schmidt said. "We are very pleased to have them as a partner in waterfowl habitat conservation in Canada." 

In a unique arrangement, much of the funding for the state grant will come from state duck stamp sales revenue, but part will come from Virginia's non-game fund. Most states fund their contribution solely through hunting license and/or state duck stamp sales.

"Virginians understand that the habitats that benefit waterfowl also greatly benefit many other species of non-game migratory birds," said VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan. 

"Sportsmen have long borne the majority of the financial costs of conservation. We see this arrangement as an opportunity to increase our contribution and share the responsibility of funding conservation among our stakeholders."