Realizing the connection between Canadian prairies and waterfowl populations, state wildlife agencies have been contributing to waterfowl breeding habitat conservation in Canada for decades. Following the development of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies established a goal for each state totaling a collective $10 million per year in support of conservation in Canada. States that choose to contribute their funding through Ducks Unlimited have the advantage of a minimum four-fold leverage on their dollars thanks to leveraging through DU and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (NCWRC) has been making state contributions since 1969. Most funding for these contributions comes from state license fees, but the NCWRC recently found a new way to increase their investment in waterfowl breeding habitat. The NCWRC worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to become the first state to use part of their allotted Pittman-Robertson (PR) Act funding for contributions to Canadian habitat projects. Going forward, NCWRC will provide $116,000 per year of the state’s PR funding for 10-years to compliment the $50,000 in state dollars and reach their goal of $166,000 annually. For the PR portion of the funds, the funding will be matched by 25% from Canadian contributions from DU Canada and be used for project maintenance and rebuilds.
In recognition of the new funding mechanism, a project dedication honoring North Carolina was held at Hazlett’s Marsh in New Brunswick this summer. This wetland was originally restored in 1983, when Beverly and Darlene Hazlett signed a 21-year conservation agreement. The wetland has been very productive for waterfowl production, and the landowners thoroughly enjoyed their little slice of paradise. Following the arrival of a family of beavers and corrosion of the original pipe, DUC staff determined that the structure needed to be replaced. The landowners signed a new, 30-year conservation agreement, and the project was rebuilt the summer of 2018. The new structure included beaver management adaptations to ensure lower maintenance costs. DUC dedicated Hazlett’s Marsh to North Carolina’s citizens and state agency on May 15th, 2019, and the landowners were very happy to host the delegation and celebrate our partnership.