FWS Proposes Liberal Frameworks for Late Waterfowl Seasons

Pintail Pair, photo by Mickelson, Peter - USFWS

Pintail Pair, photo by Peter Mickelson – USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing continued liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2013-14 late waterfowl seasons. The annual results of cooperative population surveys, banding programs and harvest surveys guide the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. All of this information represents the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world, and helps provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations. States select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits.

The Service’s 2013 Waterfowl Population Status Report summarizes information on the status of duck and goose populations and habitat conditions during spring of 2013. Overall, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season. In the traditional survey area, which includes the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska, the 2013 total duck population estimate was 45.6 million birds, a decrease of six percent from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million, but still 33 percent above the long-term average (1955-2012).    Continue reading

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House Appropriations bill zeros out conservation programs.

A NAWCA grant for Louisiana’s Liner’s Canal will benefit hundreds of acres of fresh and intermediate marsh. Louisiana has the highest rate of coastal wetland or marsh loss in North America.

A NAWCA grant for Louisiana’s Liner’s Canal will benefit hundreds of acres of fresh and intermediate marsh.

No funding for NAWCA or LWCF.

WASHINGTON – July 23, 2013 – The House Appropriations Committee’s 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, released earlier today, doesn’t include funding for vital conservation programs, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

“In the current fiscal climate, we understand that conservation programs must also receive scrutiny in the budget cutting process,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “However, it is short sighted and unacceptable to completely zero out funding for conservation programs that are also economic drivers. NAWCA in particular is unique because it more than triples any investment by the federal government with non-federal funding through private partners.” Continue reading

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Breeding population second highest ever recorded.

Mallard Ducklings; photo courtesy of Delta Waterfowl Foundation.

Mallard Ducklings; photo courtesy of Delta Waterfowl Foundation.

BISMARCK, N.D. — North America’s spring duck population is down slightly from record levels, but pond counts are up 24 percent over last year, according to the 2013 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released today.

The survey, which has been conducted annually since 1955 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife service, puts the breeding duck population at 45.6 million, the second-highest level ever recorded. Continue reading

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Delta Waterfowl, Sitka Gear introduce one-of-a-kind streaming duck nest cam.

EGELAND, N.D. — She hunkers in the middle of a grassy field on the windswept prairie, her body heat warming a shallow bowl filled with fragile eggs. If she’s lucky enough to remain hidden from predators — skunks, foxes, raccoons, opossums and others with a taste for duck eggs — for 24 days and 24 nights, her brood of downy ducklings will hatch.

It’s the springtime cycle of life for a duck on the breeding grounds of the Prairie Pothole Region, an area that encompasses the Dakotas and southern Canada where 70 percent of North America’s ducks are born.

Through a unique project this year, Delta Waterfowl is giving you a live window into the nest of a wild duck with the Delta Duck Cam (www.deltawaterfowl.org/duckcam). Outdoor apparel maker Sitka Gear has provided sponsorship for the Delta Duck Cam project. Continue reading

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USDA seeks sign-ups for wetlands, grasslands conservation programs.

Photo Credit: Terry Sohl , U.S. Geological Survey

Photo Credit: Terry Sohl , U.S. Geological Survey

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from landowners interested in the Wetlands Reserve Program and Grassland Reserve Program.

A new round of funding authorizes $255 million to enroll up to 100,000 additional acres into WRP and $47 million to enroll up to 200,000 additional acres into GRP, both nationwide.

Anyone interested in these voluntary programs should contact their state or local NRCS office. Sign-up dates and deadlines vary by state, and applications are accepted throughout the year. Continue reading

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Delta Waterfowl Research Spans North America

Photo courtesy of Delta Waterfowl Foundation

Photo courtesy of Delta Waterfowl Foundation

BISMARCK, N.D. — For 75 years, science has been the cornerstone of Delta Waterfowl. Research shapes the conservation programs and management policies that help put more ducks in the air, year after year.

“It’s been our history — research defines what we do,” said Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl’s president. “Research drives us and our programs, and it should always drive wildlife management. We’re committed to finding things that work.”  Continue reading

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