Last week, the U.S. Senate passed historic legislation that will have long-term benefits for wildlife conservation, ducks and duck hunters. The Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and includes two elements of special importance to waterfowl hunters.
First, the Great American Outdoors Act will devote roughly $100 million toward “deferred maintenance” on national wildlife refuges. This investment will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to significantly improve waterfowl conservation and hunting opportunities across a vast number of refuges.
“Delta members have often reported breached levies, failing water control structures and the resulting poor habitat and poor hunting opportunities on refuges,” said John Devney, senior vice president of Delta Waterfowl. “We were happy to work on this legislation to ensure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the opportunity to invest in critical infrastructure that enhances habitat and provides high quality hunting opportunities.”
Additionally, the bill will provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF funding provides for a variety of hunting access and outdoor recreation investments, including a significant conservation investment in the prairie pothole region. LWCF funds have been used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase voluntary conservation easements on both wetlands and grasslands in North and South Dakota as part of the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area. Duck production in the region is crucially important to U.S. waterfowlers.
“We sincerely appreciate the work of Leader McConnell (R-KY), Senators Gardner (R-CO), Daines (R-MT), Heinrich (D-NM) and Manchin (D-WV), and many others for working across the aisle to pass this transformative piece of conservation legislation,” said Dr. Scott Petrie, CEO of Delta Waterfowl. “Generations of sportsmen and women will remember this day as an important moment in history.”
The U.S. House version of the Great American Outdoors Act was introduced on June 4.
“The Duck Hunters Organization urges the House to pass the Great American Outdoors Act quickly and send the legislation to the president for his signature,” Petrie said.
Source: Delta Waterfowl