Posts tagged: wetlands
CONSERVATION — A bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate today to increase the price of the federal duck stamp to $25. The current price of $15 was set more than 20 years ago, in 1991.
“We appreciate the introduction of a federal duck stamp increase bill by Senators Begich, Baucus, Coons and Tester to meet very real on-the-ground wetland habitat conservation needs,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall in a statement supporting the action. “We are committed to seeing this legislation signed into law and look forward to working with Senators on both sides of the aisle to enact this.”
Since its enactment in 1934, the federal duck stamp program has protected more than 6 million acres of wetlands – an area the size of Vermont – through expenditures of more than $750 million. This has contributed to the conservation of more than 2.5 million acres in the Prairie Pothole Region, including the protection of 7,000 waterfowl production areas totaling 675,000 acres.
Land values have drastically increased since the last price increase in the 1990s. In Minnesota, for example, land has increased from an average price of $400 to $1,400 an acre since 1998, an increase of 250 percent. While the duck stamp price remains stagnant, the cost to conserve land and habitats that host waterfowl and other species has increased dramatically.
At its current price, the buying power of the federal duck stamp has never been lower over its 79-year history, DU says.
The Congressional Budget Office found that because the federal duck stamp is a user fee, such a price increase would have no net impact on federal spending.
“Once again, sportsmen and women have demonstrated their willingness to pay for conservation by supporting a long-overdue increase from $15 to $25. With 98 cents of every $1 from duck stamp receipts going to conserve wetlands habitat, it is vital that the cost of the stamp keep up with inflation and land acquisition costs,” Hall said.
CONSERVATION – The Spokane chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fundraising banquet April 11 at the Lincoln Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Bob Zorb of Spokane and St. John, who was unable to travel for the national ceremony in Washington, D.C, will receive DU’s national private lands conservationist of the year award at this Spokane event.
Get tickets online at ducks.org/washington.
CONSERVATION — An image of a common goldeneye painted with uncommon talent by Robert Steiner, an artist from San Francisco, Calif., is the winner of the 2012 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest.
The artwork will be featured on the 80th federal migratory bird stamp, which will be purchased by collectors, waterfowlers and other wetlands conservationists next year.
The announcement was made today by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Rowan Gould at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, during the annual art contest – the only juried art competition sponsored by the federal government.
This is Steiner’s second Federal Duck Stamp Contest win. His art previously appeared on the 1998-1999 Federal Duck Stamp.
Steiner’s acrylic painting of a common goldeneye will be made into the 2013-2014 Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in late June 2013. The Service produces the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $15 and raises about $25 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge system for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people.
Read on for more details.
CONSERVATION — One of the country’s biggest wildlife art contests will be judged in Ogden this week as the annual Federal Duck Stamp Contest comes to Utah for the first time in its nearly 80-year history. The event has been to the West only one other time.
The work of nearly 200 artists from across the United States will be open for free viewing by the public at Weber State University, reports Brett Prettyman in the Salt Lake Tribune. Judges will pick one piece during the two-day event to serve as the 2013-14 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.
Organizers picked Ogden to host the 2012 event due in a large part to the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding marshlands. Waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors and other wildlife use the habitat throughout the year.
CONSERVATION — If you visit Turnbull Refuge or other national wildlife refuges, consider buying a federal Duck Stamp rather than paying the $3 vehicle entry fee. The $15 stamp is good for entering any refuge for an entire year, and it helps fund a wildly successful wetlands conservation program.
Anyone who hunts waterfowl is required to buy a duck stamp, but many birders and other conservationists buy the stamps because they know the value of protecting wetlands for the benefit of a wide range of wildlife.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says 98 percent of proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to acquire and protect vital wetlands supports hundreds of species of migratory birds, wildlife and plants. The stamps can be purchased from the U.S. Postal Service, from some sporting goods shops and online.
Since the program’s inception in 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $750 million to acquire and protect more than 5.3 million acres of habitat for hundreds of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System in all 50 states and U.S. territories. These refuges benefit the public by providing access to outdoor recreational activities including hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.
This year’s Federal Duck Stamp features a single wood duck painted by Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn. The Junior Duck Stamp features a northern pintail painted by Christine Clayton, a 17 year old from Sidney, Ohio.
CONSERVATION – Duck Unlimited will hold its annual Guns, Gear and Beer fundraising event starting at 6 p.m. June 16 at The Condon Barn, 4801 S. Coleman Lane in Spoakne.
Cost: $40, includes steak dinner, beverages and DU Membership
Info: Dave Cote 939-5351; Mike Condon 995-0707.
WILDLIFE — The ponds at the Dishman Hills Natural Area are easy to find this time of year, since hikers can often hear them long before they see them. Chorus frogs are in full song.
Outdoor photographers Jaime and Lisa Johnson had a similar experience near their Lincoln, Mont., home recently. The didn't just settle for listing to the chorus frogs call. They made the very cool photo above to show how the little buggers make noise that can be heard for a long way off. Here's Jaime's comment:
While on a hike this weekend, we happened upon a small lake. Actually, the reason we found the lake was we heard it. As we approached, it sounded like a thousand bull frogs croaking at the same time. It was almost deafening! When we got to the edge of the water, it all stopped. Nothing but silence.We sat there for about a half hour and then one started croaking again, then two, then three…. Pretty soon hundreds were going at one time. Lisa and I were split up both one different sides of the lake looking for the frogs. We were frustrated… they were invisible! Finally, after about 15 more minutes we spotted one. To our surprise, all this noise from a frog that could fit on a nickel coin!We were accepted by the frogs after the first hour, they seemed not to really care we were there. We probably sent 2 or 3 hours there and took hundreds of images – only looked at a few, but here are a couple to give you the idea. We’ve never seen frogs actually blow up like this before in person!
WILDLIFE WATCHING – The Reardan Audubon Lake Wildlife Area just north of US 2 at Reardan, is being enhanced with information kiosks that will be dedicated April 29 in a public ceremony starting at 2 p.m.
The 277-acre wildlife area was acquired in 2006 with state grant funds and support from Spokane Audubon Society and the Inland Northwest Land Trust. The wetlands, seasonal ponds, grasslands, channeled scablands and 80-acre lake support about 200 bird and other wildlife species, 12 of special concern in Washington, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Lincoln County area was popular with birdwatchers long before public acquisition. A hotspot for spring migrants, birders put it on their annual field trips list, calling the wetlands Audubon Lake.
The ceremony will be held at the wildlife area’s southside parking lot. From the intersection of US 2 and State Route 231 in the town of Reardan, go north to Railroad Avenue, then drive east to Audubon Way.
At 3 p.m. refreshments will be available at Reardan Community Building, 110 N. Lake St., courtesy of Friends of Reardan Audubon Lake.
WILDLIFE — It's been well publicized over the years, but we can't let people forget that our lower Coeur d'Alene river basin is a toxic stew for migrating waterfowl, thanks to the waste of a century of upstream mining.
An eyewitness to a swan death report the observation complete with a photo, posted on Huckleberries online.
SPRING MIGRANTS — The region's wet spell is putting a damper on a lot of activities, but waterfowl are in their element as they pause during their spring migrations in the Inland Northwest's wealth of flooded fields and wetlands.
Ducks, geese and swans have so many options, they're fooling even experienced birders in their back yards.
John Stuart of Newport, fresh in from a birding trip in his neck of the woods, was disappointed over the weekend to see the 1,500 tundra swans had left Calispell Lake in Pend Oreille County.
“The migrating Tundra swans, usually a big noisy deal on Calispell Lake, sort of pulled a switcheroo on us, thanks to the weather,” he said in a report to Inland Northwest Birders. He assumed that because the lake had risen 3 feet in a couple days — and swans necks being only so long, they could no longer reach the submerged comestibles and had to take their leave.”
But soon after he put out the report, he heard from other birders and set the record straight Wednesday afternoon:
Apparently my story of the Swans at Calispell Lk. was not as black and white as I supposed. Terry Little found a big crowd there on Friday (30th) and Jon Isacoff found a couple thousand on Tues (3rd), while we saw none on Sunday. But Jon found a guy at Riverbend (about 10 miles north) who said the swans had been up there feeding on the larger than usual flooded field. So apparently the birds were finding some alternative feeding areas without leaving the area.
So the rain eliminated one area for feeding but created at least one new one.
CONSERVATION — Behind the words on the sign is a tradition of hunters and anglers paying billions of dollars in license fees, federal duck stamp fees and excise taxes on their hunting and fishing equipment to fund wildlife conservation efforts.
Most other recreation groups contribute little or nothing in comparison.
HUNTING — It looks as though Congress is going to make it easier for sportsmen to one-stop-shop for state and federal waterfowl hunting licenses. That's good news for the sport and for wetland habitats.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 373-1 recently to forward a bill that would allow hunters to buy their federal duck stamps online, similar to the way state hunting licenses can be purchased.
The e-Duck Stamp program started four years ago on a trial basis in eight states, including Idaho (but not Washington). The program allows hunters 16 and older to purchase temporary duck stamps online until their physical stamps arrive in the mail.
Prior to this pilot program, waterfowl hunters were required to buy federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps, or duck stamps, at post offices and sporting goods stores. The trouble came when suppliers ran out of stamps early in the season or small rural post offices didn't carry the stamps at all.
If the U.S. Senate follows the overwhelming approval of the House vote, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have the authority to make the program permanent and extend it to all states.
The Federal Duck Stamp was created in 1934 as a federal waterfowl hunting license and a means to conserve waterfowl habitat. The program has generated more than $800 million to protect more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States, land now part of the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System. The stamps cost $15 per year, with 98 percent of revenue going straight to land purchases, easements and leases.
OUTDOOR PROGRAMS — Here's a few outdoor programs to consider catching this week:
Fly fishing – “Match the Hatch Simplified,” free program by Oregon fly-fishing author Dave Hughes, 7 p.m., Wednesday (Feb. 8) at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, hosted by the Spokane Fly Fishers.
Map and compass – Free seminar on basics of reading a map and applying a compass for navigation, 7 p.m., Thursday (Feb. 9), at REI. Pre-register here to assure a spot.
Wetlands – The Pullman chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fund-raising banquet for wetlands conservation on Feb. 12 at the Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman. Tickets: Joe Ford (509) 872-3030.
CONSERVATION — America's wetlands declined slightly from 2004-2009, underscoring the need for continued conservation and restoration efforts, according to a report issued last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This is merely affirmation of an old story. The federal agency's Status and Trends Wetlands reports from previous decades have documented a continuous albeit diminishing decline in wetlands habitat.
Read on for more details.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — The U.S. Senate Thursday evening confirmed Daniel Ashe as the 16th director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ashe, a career employee of the agency, assumed his duties immediately.
Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited — and the FWS director from 2005-2009 — praised the Senate action.
“I have known and worked with Dan for more than 15 years,” Hall said. “He’s a strong supporter of wildlife resources, an avid outdoorsman and a committed conservationist. The Fish and Wildlife Service is an important partner to Ducks Unlimited, and we look forward to working together to tackle the challenges facing wetlands and waterfowl today.”
Ashe has served as the Service's deputy director since August 2009. From 2003 to 2009, he was the science advisor to the Service's director with broad responsibility to develop and implement the agency's scientific policy and programs for resource management.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Good and not-so-good vibes for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts are puling out of Washington, D.C.
CONSERVATION– Ducks Unlimited has scheduled several upcoming fundraising events to benefit wetlands conservation. Amont them:
April 7 – Spokane DU annual dinner, doors open at 5:30 p.m. at The Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. Tickets $50 single, $275 sponsor.
Contact Gordon Hester, 755-7576 or register online.
CONSERVATION — Pullman Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual banquet and auction Saturday, March 26, at Banyan’s Restaurant at the Palouse Ridge Golf Course.
Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m.; dinner served at 7 and live auction at 8.
Tickets: Jeremy Lessmann, (509) 330-1822.