Mike Del Toro

Mike Del Toro

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Good News for Waterfowl Hunters - 2024 Conservation Success

Waterfowlers Are Finally Being Given Some News To Cheer About

prairie pothole duck habitat
(Photo credit: Ducks Unlimited)

Every year, duck hunters hear the same news: duck numbers are down, droughts are wreaking havoc, urban sprawl is destroying wetland habitat, and on and on. While these issues are still a major problem, 2024 has presented hunters with more positive news than we’ve been accustomed to in years past.

Just a few days ago, Ducks Unlimited (DU) announced 1 million acres of conservation in the fiscal year of 2024.

“For the first time in its 87-year history, Ducks Unlimited has delivered 1 million acres of conservation across North America in one year thanks to more than a million supporters and partners including private landowners, hunters, corporations, major donors, state and federal agencies. This achievement happened in fiscal year 2024 and reflects a national surge in public and private interest to restore and protect wetland habitats,” the group announced.

"One million acres of conservation - about the area of Rhode Island - includes long-term and permanent projects, such as conservation restorations and easements, and short-term or annual efforts, such as agricultural cover crop programs, as well as both new and revisited project sites.” (Source: Ducks Unlimited)

mallard eggs
(Photo credit: Ducks Unlimited)

Since its founding 90 years ago, Ducks Unlimited has restored over 18 million acres for conservation. However, this 5.56% increase in land in 2024 compared to previous years proves to be a major success and a big step in helping our waterfowl populations and habitats.

“One million acres of tangible conservation in one year is an achievement that’s nearly 90 years in the making,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “This is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff and volunteers following years of exponential conservation growth. We don’t just advocate for wetlands - our mission moves dirt. Ducks see it. Communities see it. Partners see it. Each acre represents in-the-field success. Combined with our most ambitious comprehensive campaign in history, Conservation For a Continent, DU members and supporters are more motivated than ever before to make an impact on the wetlands and waterfowl we love.”

While this is a major feat from DU, there are other successes going on across the country, such as:

  • The new Farm Bill is moving forward into legislation. The old Farm Bill, which contains a conservation title and allows farmers to implement natural resource conservation efforts, expired in September 2023. However, an extension was granted, and legislators are working to get the new Farm Bill signed before the extension is up.
  • Delaware, Prince Edward Island (Canada), and other states and provinces are no longer restricted with Sunday hunting bans.
  • The Edmonton region in Canada has received a very wet Spring season, helping with the severe drought conditions in Saskatchewan. “A rainy and cool May has made a ‘tremendous improvement’ to drought conditions across the Edmonton region, but experts warn that a dry month could quickly reverse that progress.” (Source: Taproot Edmonton News)
  • On May 8, the Department of the Interior announced $87 million to go towards wetland habitat conservation and National Wildlife Refuges. “More than $87 million in funding has been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, providing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve, restore or enhance 315,823 acres of critical wetland and associated upland habitat for migratory birds across North America – including Canada and Mexico.” (Source: United States Fish and Wildlife Service)

Joyful noise for waterfowl hunters, who have grown accustomed to gloom and doom over the years. While there are still some battles we face, there’s also lots to cheer about, especially this year, as so many great things are going into the conservation of the birds we love and the sport that drives us!  

Original Author: Wildfowl Staff

Original Content: 2024 Conservation Success

Read more about the 2024 Spring Waterfowl Habitat Conditions & New Harvest Strategy for Pintails.

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