Ducks Unlimited's founders understood that conserving wetlands on the breeding grounds was essential to restoring North America's waterfowl populations, and this remains a primary focus of our work today. The crown jewels of this continent's waterfowl breeding areas are the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) and the Boreal Forest.
Known as the Duck Factory for its importance to breeding mallards, northern pintails, canvasbacks, and many other waterfowl species, the PPR has lived up to its name in recent years, supporting 60 to 70 percent of all surveyed breeding ducks. If you live in or have visited the prairies recently, you have no doubt witnessed how quickly the landscape is changing. In Prairie Canada, cropland that had been planted back to grass for cattle forage is once again being brought under the plow. In the United States, Conservation Reserve Program grasslands are also returning to cropland on a grand scale, and on both sides of the border, large numbers of wetlands are being drained or degraded.
North America's Boreal Forest is the world's largest remaining intact, productive ecosystem, encompassing more than 1.5 billion acres of pristine forests, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and streams. A keystone habitat for this hemisphere's migratory waterfowl and songbird populations, it also supports vast populations of fish and other wildlife. But the Boreal Forest is also changing rapidly as a variety of natural resources development expands across the region.
Now is the time for everyone who cares about the future of waterfowl and our hunting traditions to step up and support the conservation of these vital ecosystems. By contributing to DU's Preserve Our Prairies, Boreal Forest, Alaskaâˆ’Born to Fly, Great Lakes, Completing the Cycle, and Living Lakes Initiatives, you can make a lasting impact on the conservation of crucial waterfowl breeding habitats that produce many of the ducks and geese that fill the flyways each fall.
Wetlands America Trust President and DU Diamond Legacy Sponsor Steve Maritz believes these landscapes are truly worthy of his support. "Good environmental stewardship is not simple," he said. "It requires sound science and clear thinking as well as good policy. It's not about me; it is about the world in which we live and the love we have for it. We can make it better."
Rescue Our Wetlands