Ducks Unlimited volunteers, staff, and partners successfully worked with the New Jersey state legislature to increase the price of the state’s waterfowl stamp for the first time since 1996.
Led by Sponsor in Perpetuity and former State Chairman Scott Paterson, this was truly a grassroots operation. The effort to increase the stamp fee by $5 originated with Scott and the state Waterfowl Stamp Advisory Committee—the entity that decides which wetland projects are funded with stamp fees. Inflation and rampant land development necessitated more money going into the fund, so the bill increased both resident and nonresident fees equally. Scott and other policy volunteers worked tirelessly with champions in the legislature to move the legislation through the State Senate and Assembly. They built partnerships with traditional hunting and nontraditional environmental partners alike, and the result was legislation that overwhelmingly passed both chambers and was signed into law by the governor.
The culmination of these efforts occurred on the opening weekend of the 2021 hunting season, when the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area held the state’s first managed waterfowl lottery hunt. This wildly successful hunt was made possible because waterfowl stamp dollars helped purchase the land that DU subsequently partnered with the state to restore. Conserving areas like Tuckahoe will help foster a new generation of duck hunters in New Jersey and demonstrate how important the waterfowl stamp is to the conservation of our most vulnerable wetlands. This work done by DU volunteers and partners will resonate for generations to come.