Virginia Joins State Grants Program

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Ducks Unlimited to join the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' State Grants Program. The MOA was signed at DU's Granders Society event near Richmond. 

"This is Virginia's inaugural participation in the state grants program, which funds North American Waterfowl Management Plan habitat projects in Canada," said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt, who signed the MOA on behalf of DU. "We are pleased to have them as a partner in waterfowl habitat conservation in Canada." 

As part of the agreement, Virginia will contribute $25,000 a year for five years to fund habitat projects in eastern Canada. The state's contribution will be matched by Ducks Unlimited and leveraged through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, resulting in at least $100,000 a year for conservation projects. This conservation work will restore and enhance breeding and staging habitats that are important to black ducks that winter in Virginia.

Though much of the funding for these state grants will come from state duck stamp sales revenue, additional funds will come from Virginia's nongame fund. This is unique, as most states fund their grant contribution solely through hunting license and state duck stamp sales. 

"Virginians understand that the habitats that benefit waterfowl also greatly benefit many other species of nongame 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."