Despite the cool spring in the Great Plains Region, and an extended migration period, ducks and geese arrived on the breeding grounds in good shape. Where there is available water, Ducks Unlimited biologists are seeing nice broods of ducklings across the landscape.

Throughout much of the Prairie Pothole Region, conditions are dry to very dry. Late spring snowfall and timely rains in parts of the Dakotas and Montana have improved the waterfowl production outlook. Additional rainfall is needed across the region to improve or sustain wetland habitats for breeding waterfowl and broods. We are seeing similar conditions across prairie Canada.

Ducks Unlimited recently held its national convention in Indianapolis. Many volunteers and staff from the Great Plains Region were recognized or played large roles on the national stage. Six of the seven states in the region were recognized for their fundraising efforts with State Excellence Awards. Nebraska, South Dakota and Colorado were among the top 10 fundraising states Colorado being number one. South Dakota was recognized as the top development state in the country. The Denver Gala took the number one spot for fundraising events in the country. Kaylan Carrlson, Great Plains manager of conservation planning, presented information about DUs research work her and her team are leading in the Dakotas.

In the policy arena, we continue to see challenges on the State and National level. Volunteers and staff from the Great Plains participated in the May 19 Capital Hill Dinner in Washington D.C. The dinner hosted more than 500 DU volunteers, staff and 60 members of Congress. This venue is perfect for DU to showcase the great work it does to members of Congress and the Administration. While policy is inherently challenging there have been some positive gains for conservation. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act has received strong funding and a new five-year Farm Bill is moving through Congress to become law.

Currently DU engineers and biologists are very engaged in delivering projects throughout the Great Plains. We have very important project work this summer in all seven states that are restoring and enhancing migration and breeding waterfowl habitat.

Thank you for being a very important part of Team DU. As a team, we are making a difference for waterfowl and our waterfowling heritage, by working to have sufficient wetlands to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.

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