MADISON, Wisconsin – Sept. 11, 2019 – Ducks Unlimited applauds legislation introduced to raise the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp fee to $12, providing critical funding for wetland habitat conservation and management.
The legislation, LRB 3639 and LRB 4274, are co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Skowronski and Sen. Patrick Testin. The increase would produce an estimated $260,000 of additional annual revenue for wetland restoration, protection and management, including increased and improved public access for hunting, fishing and watching wildlife.
“This is a great step forward for Wisconsin. Not only will this bill help the wildlife across the state, it will benefit the water quality,” Skowronski said.
“Wisconsin has proud hunting and conservation traditions and this bill ensures that we continue to pass those along to the next generation,” Testin said.
Sportsmen and women hunting waterfowl in Wisconsin must purchase a stamp as part of their annual license. The Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp has generated more than $13 million since its authorization in 1978. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must spend 67 percent of stamp fees on wetland habitat improvements in Wisconsin and send the remaining 33 percent to prairie Canada for breeding ground conservation work. About one-third of all waterfowl harvested by Wisconsin hunters are born in Canada.
The legislation would require the DNR to prepare a biennial report for the legislature that identifies how the money received from fees for waterfowl hunting stamps is used for habitat projects.
The stamp was first issued in 1978 for $3.25, was increased in 1991 to $5.25 and again in 1997 to $7. Inflation, increasing user demand, and rising costs of maintenance means many habitat restoration projects are going unfunded.
Wetlands play a crucial role on the landscape. They are responsible for:
- Filtering drinking water.
- Refilling groundwater.
- Reducing flooding.
- Protecting coasts from erosion.
- Providing recreational opportunities for birders, hunters, anglers and boaters.
- Providing habitat for 900 species of plants, waterfowl, animals and fish.
The bills are supported by the conservation community, sporting community and outdoors enthusiasts.
Nels Swenson, Ducks Unlimited Wisconsin Policy Chair, said the Wisconsin DNR’s management and restoration needs for wetlands far outpaces the current waterfowl stamp rate, which was enacted nearly 30 years ago.
“I am proud of the conservation champions in the legislature who are heeding the call of waterfowl hunters and other conservationists and proposing a market adjustment to the state duck stamp fees, to maintain the buying power of this critical conservation funding tool in the state,” Swenson said.
Wisconsin has lost nearly 50 percent of its historical wetlands to human development. Ducks Unlimited has protected, enhanced or restored more than 118,000 acres in Wisconsin alone, many of which with the Wisconsin DNR as a partner.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14.5 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.