THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM DUCKS UNLIMITED AND THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION
Ducks Unlimited Celebrates 2024 World Wetlands Day
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jan. 30, 2024 – On Friday, Feb. 2, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and conservationists worldwide will celebrate World Wetlands Day (WWD) to recognize the importance of wetland ecosystems for humans and wildlife. This year’s theme is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing.”
Part of DU’s mission is to raise public awareness about the benefits wetlands provide as waterfowl habitats and as critical natural water filters. Wetlands provide many services to our communities, including flood storage, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, enhanced fish habitat and much more.
Ducks Unlimited recently kicked off the most ambitious conservation campaign in history on behalf of North America’s wetlands and waterfowl. “Conservation for a Continent. Our Wetlands. Our Legacy.” The comprehensive campaign aims to raise $3 billion for habitat work across North America.
Conservation for a Continent builds on the success of DU’s groundbreaking Rescue Our Wetlands campaign, which concluded in December 2018. Rescue Our Wetlands raised an astonishing $2.34 billion from more than 2 million donors and conserved 2,236,435 acres of wildlife habitat across North America.
WWD focuses on conservation solutions for these beautiful and critical landscape features that some describe as nature’s kidneys due to their ability to filter and clean water.
WWD commemorates the Feb. 2, 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran. Each year since the first celebration in 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporations and citizens representing all segments of society have taken advantage of the anniversary to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Convention in Ramsar in particular.
According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests.
“Wetlands conservation is what Ducks Unlimited does every day,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Karen Waldrop. “Since 1937, DU volunteers, members, sponsors and supporters have restored or protected more than 18 million acres of habitat in North America.”
“In Fiscal Year 2023, DU protected or restored 641,000 acres of habitat in the United States alone,” Waldrop said. “But, as always, DU’s conservation work is a never-ending endeavor. Habitat work continues daily across the United States, Canada and Mexico.”
MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation rolls into its 40th year of conservation fresh off a tandem of major land conservation and access successes.
In mid-December, RMEF and its partners conserved and opened hunting and other recreational access to 54,636 acres of Kentucky elk range, the largest voluntary conservation agreement in state history. One month earlier, a similar landscape-scale collaborative effort in Oregon protected and opened access to 15,573 acres.
“These two projects, located about 2,200 miles apart, checked the box as long-standing strategic and organizational priorities to benefit elk, mule deer and other wildlife species,” said Fred Lekse, RMEF Board of Directors chair. “Having said that, these are merely two of many significant 2023 conservation achievements in support of our mission.”
2023 Conservation Highlights
Surpassed 8.9 million acres in lifetime conservation work
Completed 11 land conservation and access projects in Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming that protected 72,813 acres and opened or improved access to 77,960 acres
Allocated funding for 130 habitat stewardship and 43 wildlife management projects in 22 states that enhanced 161,180 acres in support of calving grounds, winter range, migration corridors and bolstering scientific research both in the East and the West
Increased wildfire restoration funding to $1.6 million for 2021-2023 projects
Awarded $842,000 in RMEF/partner support for southern Appalachian elk country
Allocated $400,000 to conserve migration corridors and $250,000 for migration mapping
Supplied $200,000 to advance chronic wasting disease research/management
Completed 291 projects to bolster youth firearm and archery teams, mentored hunts, outdoor and conservation camps, and similar hunting heritage outreach efforts in 38 states
Fortified OutdoorClass, a video-based subscription service for hunters of all skill levels
Advocated for/helped restore nationwide school funding for hunter education and archery programs
“We salute our volunteers who work to generate crucial funding for this work by hosting banquets and other events,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We thank them, as well as our members, donors, sponsors and partners for their continued support.”