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Ducks Unlimited welcomes EPA, Army Corps draft rule on “Waters of the United States”

WASHINGTON – March 25, 2014 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today released the 300-page draft rule to clarify the “Waters of the United States” definition. This rule will clarify the extent to which the Clean Water Act protections can be restored to many wetlands vital to maintaining waterfowl populations.

DU joins forces with other conservation groups for prairie conservation

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A coalition of conservation organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, announced today the launch of a coordinated, partner-driven “Prairies Conservation Campaign” to bring public attention to the dramatic conversion of grasslands and wetlands to cropland in one of America’s last intact grassland ecosystems – the Prairie Pothole Region.

Oran Richard: Four Decades of Support Celebrated with Tribute Weekend

Oran Richard of Lafayette, Louisiana, is a longtime DU supporter, Wetlands America Trust board member, and Diamond Benefactor and Grand Slam Sponsor. His nearly 40 years of giving to DU's conservation work in Canada and the United States was held in March 2013 and raised $950,000.

Doug Roberts: New National Development Committee Member Balances Stewardship and Industry

Benefactor Sponsor Doug Roberts of Spanish Fort, Alabama, recently joined DU's National Development Committee. He is a landowner well versed in establishing and maintaining conservation easements with the help of Ducks Unlimited. Stewardship of the land is foremost in Doug's mind, and his appointment to the committee will help foster stronger bonds between members of American industry - where Doug works in coal - and conservation groups like DU. Doug's story appeared in the 2013 DU Annual Report.

Shelley & Craig Larson: A Lifelong, Science-driven Passion for the Prairies

Gold Benefactor Sponsors Shelley and Craig Larson of Bismarck, North Dakota, support DU's Preserve Our Prairies Initiative. This initiative is dedicated to conserving the wetlands and grasslands of the Prairie Pothole Region, North America's most critical breeding grounds for waterfowl. The Larsons' story appeared in the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Annual Report.

Carmen Miller is new Great Plains Region public policy director

BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 26, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited has chosen Carmen Miller as its new director of public policy for the Great Plains Region. In her new role, Miller will be working on federal and state policies that affect DU’s conservation work in the Great Plains. DU’s Great Plains Region is headquartered in Bismarck, and includes the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

Dr. Johann Walker to head DU prairies program

BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 20, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited has named Dr. Johann Walker its director of conservation programs for North and South Dakota and Montana. Walker is recognized as one of the premier waterfowl population ecologists in the country. For the past three years, he has led the science and planning efforts for DU’s Great Plains Region by designing, collecting and analyzing the latest scientific research on waterfowl breeding ecology.

Migration Alert: Hard Freeze in Prairie Canada Expected, Fall Flight Moves into U.S.

Marshes and potholes on the Canadian prairies are freezing up tight, and as an even stronger cold front pushes across the region this weekend, remaining waterfowl concentrated on deeper waters should also begin to move south.

Partnership Celebrates Innovative Prairie Conservation Project

BISMARCK, N.D. – Oct. 30, 2013 - The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), along with project partners Ducks Unlimited (DU), The Climate Trust (TCT) and The Nature Conservancy, today announced positive results from their joint collaboration — an innovative Avoided Grassland Conversion carbon project. The project is one of nine groundbreaking climate change initiatives selected and funded by the NRCS’s 2011 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, and is focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation for one of the least protected and most imperiled ecosystems in the world.

New research from DU’s Great Plains Region guides future grassland easement priorities

Johann Walker, DU director of conservation planning for the Great Plains Region (GPR), is the lead author of a research paper that introduces a new adaptive strategy for securing conservation easements in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

Media summit highlights plight of the prairies

Stories focusing on the plight of the prairies and increased energy development in North Dakota have been showing up in national publications (Washington Post) following the recent Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) 2013 Media Summit, hosted by Ducks Unlimited in Bismarck, N.D.

Private lands conservation at risk with farm bill expiration

Lost in the back-and-forth before the federal government shutdown, the one-year farm bill extension expired at midnight on Sept. 30, 2013.

USFWS director talks about sportsmen priorities, duck stamp


House fails to pass 2013 Farm Bill

In an unexpected outcome, the House of Representatives’ final vote on the 2013 Farm Bill was 195-234. The vote fell far short of the 218 required for passage.

Scheels All Sports growing conservation in five states

BISMARCK, N.D. – June 12, 2013 – Scheels All Sports is investing in conservation in five of the states where its stores are located. The company has pledged a five-year major gift to Ducks Unlimited to conserve habitat in North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.

Ducks Unlimited receives $50,000 Wells Fargo grant

BISMARCK, N.D. – June 6, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited received a grant from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) today as part of a $3 million Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program involving community-based nonprofits nationwide and helping support land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure and educational outreach.

Preserve Our Prairies Initiative

Conserving North America's highest-priority waterfowl nesting habitat—and the glory of bountiful fall flights—in the face of mounting threats.

Peaks to Prairies Initiative

Restoring wetlands in the shadow of America's iconic Rocky Mountains and conserving the Duck Factory for outdoorsmen and women to enjoy.

Wetland conditions good for nesting migratory birds

BISMARCK, N.D. – May 10, 2013 – As the breeding season for ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region gets into full swing, the world will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) on Saturday, May 11. As IMBD draws near, Ducks Unlimited says habitat conditions in the continent’s “Duck Factory” are above average.

Land and Water Conservation Fund gets boost in proposed budget

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – April 10, 2013 – Conservationists, ranchers and private landowners in the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area (DGCA) have reason to be cautiously optimistic about the president’s proposed budget due to possible increases in conservation easement funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This proposal could benefit landowners in the Dakotas and provide much-needed voluntary incentives to protect prairie habitat. Ducks Unlimited has been a staunch supporter of the DGCA since its 2011 inception.

Home on the Range - Henry and Eleanor Carlson

Some call the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the United States and Canada the "Duck Factory" of North America. Henry and Eleanor Carlson just call it home. By helping Ducks Unlimited conserve native grasslands and pothole wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region, the Carlsons are not only securing the future of North America's waterfowl - they're preserving their family's history and heritage.

Giving Back to the Breeding Grounds - Dan and Linda Ray

Becoming a conservationist of prairie nesting habitat was something of a natural evolution for Dan Ray. Dan grew up near South Carolina's Santee Delta, known for its strong waterfowling heritage. But it was after he and his wife, Linda, bought Annandale Plantation, with its 3,500 acres of marshes and waterfowl habitat, that Dan truly fell in love with waterfowling, and it was after meeting Ducks Unlimited staff that he began to understand the connection between the quality of waterfowling in the Santee Delta and conservation efforts on the northern prairies.

Continental Generosity - Daryl and Mary Pennington

Waterfowl are a continental resource that rely on habitat from their northern breeding grounds to their southern winter homes and all points in between. It takes a visionary to see beyond his backyard and support habitat conservation on a continental scale. Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation trustees Daryl and Mary Pennington of Ethel, Louisiana, are prime examples of such broadly committed sponsors, their generosity shining even more brightly given that Daryl and Mary began duck hunting less than 15 years ago.

Help DU conserve crucial waterfowl breeding grounds today

With a grant from SportDOG, Ducks Unlimited, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will conserve 5,463 acres of wetland and wetland-associated grassland habitat using purchased perpetual easements along with fee-title (outright) purchase of important landscapes. Vote today!

DU supports opening some CRP lands for drought-stricken ranchers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Aug. 3, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited supports opening certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to haying and grazing during the current drought affecting livestock feed supplies. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack opened nearly 4 million acres of CRP land this week for livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland.

DU leaders meet with legislators, advocate for farm bill conservation programs

Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall and Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt joined agricultural producers and DU governmental affairs staff in Washington, D.C., this week to impress upon members of Congress the importance of maintaining strong conservation programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.

Capitol visit successful for Iowa, Minnesota farmers

Jim Goodman, a Crescent, Iowa, landowner, joined Toni and Philip Brink of Traverse County, Minn., in Washington, D.C., on July 24-26 as part of a Ducks Unlimited farmer fly-in. These fly-ins help educate and inform legislators of the importance of the 2012 Farm Bill conservation programs, specifically funding for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

DU applauds Senate passing 2012 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON - June 21, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited announced its appreciation today following the U.S. Senate's 64-35 passage of the 2012 Farm Bill. The $969.9 billion bipartisan bill maintained a conservation title that will benefit wildlife and people. Critical conservation initiatives include the Conservation Reserve Program, a conservation easement program with a strong wetland component, a regional partnership program aimed at improving water quality and a Sodsaver provision. The Senate also moved to link eligibility for federally subsidized crop insurance to compliance with conservation practices.

Media Advisory: Sportsmen's groups urge keeping land and water conservation funding in transportation bill

The teleconference will give reporters a chance to hear about the opportunity to secure additional funding for habitat conservation and outdoor recreation access, and will provide an example of the areas that would benefit from funding.

High-Priority Habitats

Following are DU's five highest-priority landscapes, their importance to waterfowl and our efforts to conserve them for present and future generations.

"Caller-Times" columnist David Sikes honored at 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - March 16, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held at the Hilton Atlanta. This year's winner in the Communications category is David Sikes, outdoors columnist for the "Corpus Christi Caller-Times."

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited focus funding to protect vital waterfowl habitat in Prairie Pothole Region

WASHINGTON - March 2, 2012 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited announced today they will work with the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to focus resources on wildlife habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of the northern plains, breeding grounds for a majority of the continent's ducks.

Convention 2011 - Prairie Pothole Region

If you've ever been warmed on a cold, gray day by the sight of ducks on the horizon... If waterfowl have ever influenced your life... Then North America's prairies have, too.

Rescue the Duck Factory

Since its founding, DU has crossed international borders to conserve the prairies throughout Canada and the United States.

As Budget Talks Continue, the Future Remains Uncertain for Waterfowl

Two Meetings, One Day, Big Decisions for Proven Habitat Program

South Dakota Spectacular

The hunt of a lifetime is the reward for days of hard scouting in this state's prairie pothole country

DU and NRCS partnership continues to expand with latest grant venture

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White recently announced that Ducks Unlimited received funding through the USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants for a large scale project in the Prairie Potholes Region of North Dakota and South Dakota that will initially help conserve 5,000 acres of ranchland in both states.

DU Receives Carbon Grant

Ducks Unlimited is working with cattle producers to protect grassland-nesting habitat, thanks to a grant that will increase national recognition for the carbon storage benefit of native prairie grasslands

Rep. King (IA) praises DU's NAWCA partnership

Rep. Steve King (IA) praised both Ducks Unlimited and NAWCA for the pivotal role this partnership plays in conserving precious waterfowl habitat. The praise came after last week's announcement that DU received a $1 million NAWCA grant for conservation projects in Iowa.

House introduces legislation to defund Clean Water Act guidance

In April, the Administration initiated steps to restore Clean Water Act protections to many wetlands and other waterways. While sportsmen across the country support efforts to establish Clean Water Act guidance that will clarify how to sustain wetlands and conserve the prairie potholes, the nation's most important breeding habitat, recent actions in the U.S. House of Representatives are threatening to stop this important effort.

Policy News 3-18

Ducks Unlimited Receives Highest Honor from USDA-NRCS; DU Leaders Visit Capitol Hill, Discuss Waterfowl Initiatives with Nation's Top Policymakers; DU explains importance of Clean Water Act draft guidance during media briefing

DU Leaders Visit Capitol Hill, Discuss Waterfowl Initiatives with Nation's Top Policymakers

Ducks Unlimited leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the critical role wetlands conservation programs play across the nation.

Policy News 3-17

DU lauds process to restore wetlands protections critical to waterfowl; Secretary of Interior Salazar Meets with DU in Pothole Country; DU's work in Wisconsin praised by Congressman Tom Petri

DU Sits Down With Secretary of Interior Salazar in South Dakota

Ducks Unlimited says Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s visit to South Dakota this week brings new light to America’s disappearing native prairie. Salazar met with DU and other conservation partners today to talk about the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area that would bring more dollars to retaining grassland through conservation easements on private land.

Stewards of the Prairie

Cattle ranchers manage much of this continent's most important waterfowl breeding habitat

Early Spring Habitat Conditions in Canada

A compilation of impressions, collected from Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) field staff, of environmental conditions relative to breeding waterfowl. These observations are not based on systematic surveys, and are not intended to describe hunting conditions.

Photo Essay: Spring on the Prairies

A look at what breeding waterfowl will find as they return to the Duck Factory (by Chris Jennings)

Photo Essay: Nesting Habitat

Experience the images waterfowl face when they arrive on the prairies this year

Secrets to Success

DU has discovered a wealth of new information about what drives duck production on the prairies

Policy News 3-7

DU voices strong opposition to massive federal conservation spending cuts; President announces plan for America's Great Outdoors Initiative; DU supports Senate bill that would make tax relief permanent for conservation donations; Coalition of conservation groups urges Congress to maintain funding for successful Great Lakes programs; DU joins NWF in urging USFWS to make restoration priority at NWR in Montana; DU co-hosts reception for Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Change to wetlands law in Wisconsin sets dangerous precedent throughout state; DU regional director urges Nebraska legislators to keep valuable state conservation grant program intact

Policy News 3-5

DU supports strengthening hunting tradition with additional funding for Open Fields; DU volunteers, staff attend South Carolina Sportsmen's Caucus luncheon; DU thanks state of Louisiana for $2 million support of marsh restoration project; USDA to hold general CRP sign-up for second consecutive year; DU uses Farm Bill easement program to protect critical rice land habitat in California; DU and partners ask state of California, DOI to consider wetlands, waterfowl during water crisis

U.S. States Support Canadian Habitat Conservation

With the establishment of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) in 1986, the United States, Canada, and Mexico embarked on an unprecedented conservation journey. They set out to restore continental waterfowl populations to the levels of the 1970s through targeted conservation efforts in all three countries.

Policy News 2-52

DU recognizes 25th anniversary of Conservation Reserve Program

DU salutes USDA's support, commitment to conservation on 25th anniversary of CRP

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Dec. 23, 2010 - This year marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program. The Food Security Act of 1985 established the CRP, arguably the greatest landscape-level conservation program ever.

Sodsaver: Saving America's Prairies

A new wave of grassland conversion has occurred in the last decade, causing significant ecological and sociological impacts to the region. Current farm policy is fueling the destruction of this rare and important habitat. Congress must implement a policy in the 2012 Farm Bill to reverse this trend. Ducks Unlimited suggests calling this the "Sodsaver" provision.

The Farm Bill, Ducks, and the Economy

When most of us think of the Farm Bill, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) immediately comes to mind. We also think about how this program helps increase duck populations and can put more birds over our decoy spreads.

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

The GRP is a voluntary conservation program administered by the USDA's NRCS that helps landowners protect grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrub land, and other landscapes.

Photo Essay: Green is Golden

The mallard is North America's most widely-distributed and popular waterfowl species, highly coveted by waterfowlers.

Farm Bill

DU supports agricultural policy that conserves soil, water, wetlands, grasslands, and forests upon which both people and wildlife depend. The Farm Bill is the most effective tool for conserving wildlife habitat on private land, and it's DU's objective that both waterfowl and their habitats benefit from this policy.

Cold front sends Saskatchewan's ducks south in numbers

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, Manitoba - Nov. 3, 2010 - The "weather bomb" that recently wreaked havoc in numerous ways on much of North America also sent flight after flight of ducks south from Canada's Prairies.

Long Live the Canvasback

The future of the canvasback depends on conserving key wetland habitats, especially prairie potholes

The Waters of the United States

The future of prairie potholes and many other wetlands depends on how this simple phrase is interpreted

Ducks Unlimited: CRP sign-up comes at critical time for ducks

BISMARCK, N.D. - July 28, 2010 - Ducks Unlimited says the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up comes at a critical time for duck populations, with nesting grounds continuing to disappear. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that the agency will allow new enrollments in CRP in 2010, the first time since 2006.

Rescue the Duck Factory passes 100,000-acre milestone


Prairie Pothole Region

The Prairie Pothole Region, North America's Duck Factory, is at the heart of Ducks Unlimited's conservation mission. Read more about DU's PPR priority area.

The Best of the Best

Wetland-rich native prairie and parkland are vital to the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.

2010 Spring Habitat Conditions

Waterfowl returned to variable wetland conditions this spring on key breeding areas.

Winter Wheat: The Duck-Friendly Crop

New partnership is a win-win for farmers and waterfowl.

The Moveable Feast

During spring migration, waterfowl need an abundance of food to return to the breeding grounds in good condition.

A Promising Way to Save the Duck Factory

Prairie conservation could figure prominently in future government climate policies.

Wetlands and Ducks in the Balance

Passage of the Clean Water Restoration Act is vital to the future of the nation’s wetlands and waterfowl .

Rescuing the Duck Factory

Ducks Unlimited needs your help now to save vital waterfowl breeding habitat on the prairies.

Using Science to Help Prairie Ducks

DU’s habitat investments in the Duck Factory are guided by extensive scientific research.

New CRP Practice Emphasizes Ducks

New enrollment guidelines will provide valuable nesting habitat, but significant challenges remain.

Prairies Under Siege

Ducks Unlimited scientists provide an in-depth look at the conservation of the Prairie Pothole Region in a comprehensive four-part series.

Plowing the Prairie

The duck factory is being plowed under at an alarming rate, but with your help, the next Farm Bill could bring relief

Prairies Under Siege: The Future of the Prairie Pothole Region

Jim Ringelman explains the actions necessary to keep the Prairie Pothole Region functioning and producing waterfowl for future generations.

Prairies Under Siege: Science and Conservation

Science is the most important factor driving Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation efforts in the Prairie Pothole Region.

Prairies Under Siege: New Threats to Ducks & Waterfowling

The Prairie Pothole Region, an area critical to waterfowl, is currently under attack from several sides, putting nesting habitat at risk.

Prairies Under Siege: Ducks, Habitat Conservation & Predators

Ducks Unlimited scientists explain why DU's focus remains on habitat conservation rather than predator control.

Studying Skunks


Lessons From the Prairie

Assessing and adapting conservation strategies helps improve our management of North America's ducks

The Cover Connection

Large areas of protected grasslands are essential for waterfowl populations nesting in the Prairie Pothole Region and across the Great Plains.

North Dakota Conservation Projects

Ducks Unlimited habitat conservation projects in North Dakota. These projects benefit waterfowl, other wildlife and people. View sample projects, project map and more.

Ducks and Winter Wheat

Making the Landscape Productive for Ducks and people

CRP - Conservation Reserve Program

In 1985, spring surveys by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service placed waterfowl breeding populations at 25.6 million ducks and predicted a fall flight of 54.5 million. Mallards, pintails and blue-winged teal in particular were in trouble, with populations at or near their lowest in the 30-year history of the surveys.

Special Report Prairies Under Siege: Part III


Prairies Under Siege: Part IV

Without aggressive measures to secure its habitat base, North America’s duck factory faces an uncertain future.

The Plain Truth About Prairie Ducks

Some things haven't changed. Weather and habitat conditions on the prairies remain the two most important factors influencing duck populations.

Grasslands for Tomorrow

Spanning the U.S. and Canadian border, the Prairie Pothole Region forms the core of what was formerly the largest expanse of grassland in the world. Glaciers receding at the end of the last Ice Age left behind millions of shallow wetlands-so-called prairie potholes-speckled in an endless sea of grass. Shallow wetlands teeming with aquatic plant and animal life are juxtaposed with grasslands communities lying atop deep, nutrient-rich soils. An impressive array of bird species is dependent on the productive and highly-diverse nature of the prairie.

Prairie Pothole Region - More Information

The Prairie Pothole Region, North America's "Duck Factory," provides critical nesting habitat for migrating waterfowl. Read more about the area's history and how it benefits other wildlife species as well.

Biodiversity in the Grassland Biome

Learn about biodiversity, biomes, grasslands and related ecosystems in this article about the declining diversity of grasslands habitats and the impact on waterfowl.

Grazing and Fire

Grassland habitat has been honed into a diverse, hearty ecosystem by centuries of controlled burning and grazing on the prairies.
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