• VDGIF has provided $100,000 for waterfowl habitat conservation on breeding grounds since 2012, making them a Bronze Level sponsor.
• "Following the science that tells us our waterfowl are predominantly born in eastern Canada, we wanted to make our investment in habitat conservation there," said VDGIF Director Bob Duncan.
• All state contributions that go through Ducks Unlimited are matched by DU and leveraged further through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
RICHMOND – March 18, 2016 – The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) was recently recognized for their cumulative $100,000 contributions supporting wetlands restoration on Canadian breeding grounds important to Virginia's waterfowl. The ceremony took place at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.
"Ducks Unlimited is very pleased to recognize the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for a relatively new but dedicated commitment to making wise investments in habitat important to the birds that wing their way to Virginia each year," said Paul Schmidt, DU chief conservation officer.
In 2012, VDGIF signed a memorandum of agreement with Ducks Unlimited to contribute $25,000 a year for five years to fund habitat projects in eastern Canada through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' (AFWA) State Contributions to Canada program.
"It's important for all of us – states, federal agencies, non-profit organizations and others – to work collaboratively to ensure our natural resources are there for future generations," said VDGIF Director Bob Duncan. "Following the science that tells us our waterfowl are predominantly born in eastern Canada, we wanted to make our investment in habitat conservation there."
The AFWA program, which funds North American Waterfowl Management Plan habitat projects in Canada, started in 1965 as one of the first international public/private partnerships to support migratory bird conservation and is funded primarily by hunting license sales. Through this program, states help fund long-term partnerships that conserve and restore breeding habitat for waterfowl that migrate through, and winter in, their own states.
"The importance of the state's contributions to Canadian habitat conservation and restoration projects cannot be overstated," said Pat Kehoe, DU Canada's director of international partnerships. "Ducks Unlimited's programs in the United States and Canada are consistent with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and our prairie programs are structured to protect native, highly productive habitat while also improving waterfowl production in working agricultural landscapes."
As with all states that contribute to the program through Ducks Unlimited, Virginia's contribution will be matched by DU and leveraged through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, resulting in at least $100,000 a year for conservation projects. Habitat conservation efforts began in the eastern portion of Canada and focus on habitats important to black ducks that stage and breed in this area and winter in Virginia.
"We are very pleased to have Virginia as a partner in waterfowl habitat conservation in Canada," Schmidt said. "In just a few years, they have already reached the Bronze Award level, and their commitment to wetland conservation continues to build."
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 13.6 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.