Who said a ‘Lame Duck’ Congress is Lame?
Yesterday, the Senate passed (via unanimous consent) H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act, which is a huge WIN for duck hunters and wildlife conservation! The bill increases the price of duck stamps from $15 to $25 and would generate additional dedicated funding for wetland conservation.
The bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk to be signed!
This legislation will enhance the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to partner with thousands of additional landowners across the country to maintain and increase critical habitat for waterfowl, upland birds and hundreds of other native species.
A special thank you to the Congressional sponsors of this bill and the millions of hunters and other wildlife conservationists for purchasing Duck Stamps. I enjoy buying my stamp every year and take pleasure in knowing that my small purchase contributes to the preservation of habitat that not only I can enjoy…but all Americans can enjoy for generations to come.
The National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates strongly supported the price increase (NWF and affiliates unanimously adopted a Resolution supporting an increase last year at NWF’s Annual Meeting), as did the hunting community at large.
Check out my colleague and wicked basketball dunker Bentley Johnson’s post on this.
Duck Stamps are licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl and also serve as an entrance pass for national wildlife refuges and are bought by hunters and birders alike. More importantly, these stamps are one of the most critical tools for the conservation of wetlands, wildlife, and natural resources—ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
National Wildlife Federation’s founder J.N. “Ding” Darling conceived of the idea of using Duck Stamps to raise money for the purchase of wetlands and he also illustrated the very first stamp (see above). It’s a great example of conservationists coming together to fund critical conservation (the North American Conservation Model in action). Since 1934 over $800 million has been generated to preserve over 6 million acres of critical wetlands habitat in the United States as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Wildlife refuges not only serve as habitat for ducks and geese, but they provide countless benefits such as flood mitigation, water filtration, and habitat for more than 700 bird species, 220 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 1,000 fish species, and one-third of endangered or threatened species. Refuge visitor spending also generates billions of dollars every year for local communities.
As the Duck Stamp celebrates its 80th anniversary, its buying power has never been lower. The price of the Duck Stamp was last increased 23 years ago in 1991 and since then the price of land has tripled. Even though this bill does restrict the revenue generated from the $10 increase from being direct to fee-title land acquisition, the base price of $15 can still be used for land acquisition and the extra revenue can be used for conservation easements.