On March 15, 2021, Ducks Unlimited (DU) achieved another milestone, with more than 15 million acres of habitat restored or protected in North America. The impressive number could not have been reached without the tireless efforts of millions of DU supporters, volunteers, partners and staff members who have been a part of the organization over the past 84 years.
To put that number into perspective, it’s more than 23,000 square miles of regenerative success.
The achievement was announced and celebrated at a recent meeting of Ducks Unlimited’s board of directors.
“Ducks Unlimited’s mission of wetlands conservation has always been driven by science to deliver the best possible outcomes for waterfowl, wildlife and people,” said DU President Doug Schoenrock.
“This was a true Team DU effort, and we’re proud of what we have accomplished. While this is a historic milestone, we will not stop working toward our vision of skies filled with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever,” he added.
Even with this milestone success, habitat losses continue to outpace gains in the highest priority landscapes—like the Prairie Pothole Region—across North America.
In addition, as urban sprawl—and the human population—expands, so does the demand for clean and plentiful water for use at home and in many agricultural and industrial processes.
In addition to providing habitat for waterfowl, wetlands slow and store water to help recharge watersheds and aquifers, improve water quality and provide important wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.
“This groundbreaking number is a perfect example of how waterfowlers, outdoors enthusiasts and others with a passion for waterfowl and wetlands conservation can work together to achieve a common goal,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam.
“DU’s mission brings us together in good times and bad, attracts like-minded people to our cause and delivers results. In Fiscal Year 2020 alone, Ducks Unlimited’s on-the-ground work protected or restored more than 600,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands. Our conservation staff worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, sleeping in in repurposed ice fishing houses, campers and even tents to ensure our work never stopped. In fact, we’re accelerating our efforts to ensure we reach 16 million in record time,” he concluded.
Ducks Unlimited and its partners provide on-the-ground solutions that benefit waterfowl populations and maximize water resources by restoring the dynamic natural functions of wetlands, many of which have been stymied by over a century of misguided swamp-draining by farmers and cities.