Earlier this month the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved the acquisition of 419 acres on three national wildlife refuges. The funds used for these procurement come from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps. The Duck Stamp Act requires anyone 16 or older to purchase a Stamp for waterfowl hunting. But you don’t have to be a waterfowl hunter to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp!
The refuges receiving funds are:
Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Missouri – $532,000 for 197 acres. The project will protect waterfowl breeding and stopover habitat and provide public opportunities for wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing and wildlife observation and photography, in the urban St. Louis Metropolitan Area.
Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota – $176,000 for 160 acres. The project will protect wetlands that provide habitat for dabbling and diving duck species, and protect grasslands that provide habitat for upland-nesting duck species, including mallards, blue-winged teal and gadwalls, as well as other migratory birds. The project will provide public opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting and wildlife observation.
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Connecticut – $250,000 for 62 acres. The project will protect habitat for waterfowl, including American black ducks and wood ducks, as well as for wading birds and other migratory birds, and provide public opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. 1
Federal Duck Stamps are available online, in post offices, and in many sporting goods and large-scale retail stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses and equipment. Check your local refuge to see if they sell Federal Duck Stamps, as well. The Stamp is also available from Amplex Corporation and if you are interested in selling Federal Duck Stampsthey are the organization to contact.
1 Trump Administration Announces More Than $130 Million in Public-Private Funding for Wetland Conservation Projects, FWS News, September 10, 2020
Many people believe that nonprofit organizations are not allowed to advocate or lobby. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonprofits like Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex use advocacy, and on occasion lobbying, to help meet their mission of support for the refuge complex and the system of refuges across the nation. Friends are the Advocacy Champions of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Photo Credit: City of Tualatin
During the past year, Friends of Tualatin River NWR have been actively involved in monitoring and speaking out on both local and national concerns that impact our local refuge and the refuge system. At the local level, Friends and FWS Staff at the refuge and regional level have continued to monitor efforts to create a rock quarry on Tonquin Rd in Sherwood, just feet away from one of the few pristine units of our refuge. The Tonquin Road area was shaped by the Missoula floods about 15,000 years ago when an ice dam broke in western Montana and changed the land in the Northwest. Following public comment, the State requested further information from the owners. The deadline for that response is September 30, 2020. Friends will continue to work with FWS to document concerns regarding the negative impacts that a quarry in the proposed location can have on our refuge.
Monitoring the impacts of different land uses adjacent to or around the refuge are important to supporting our mission. As we strive to protect the natural, historical, and cultural, resources of the refuge we are also protecting them for your communities.
“Throughout my Service career, I was continually reminded of the value of friends and Friends organizations, and the important voice they give through advocacy (and yes, that includes “lobbying”) that career Service employees are restricted from doing. Friends are private citizens, and they have all the rights and privileges of citizenship, including the constitutional right to petition their government.”— Dan Ashe, Former Director of US Fish and Wildlife
Traditionally, August is a time for members of Congress to head home and work in their district or state. This year because of the need for a fifth coronavirus relief package, those plans are in turmoil.
When your legislators are in the district or state, it is a perfect time to get them out to your refuge or hatchery to thank them for the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The Act boosts funding to reduce the maintenance backlogs on public lands and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a tool to conserve landscapes and invest in parks and outdoor recreation.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to discuss with your board and Service staff about inviting your members of Congress to your site. It’s an opportunity for you to show them why you give your time to your refuge/hatchery and why it is an asset to your community.
If you have never requested a meeting with your members of Congress then check out the advocacy webinars created by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends.
The second webinar in the advocacy series addresses how to make and prepare for a meeting with legislators. Friends, check out the weinar and if you have questions or need advice let us know.