Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
HOUSTON, Texas —
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department awarded Ducks Unlimited $250,000 in state grants funding this year. This commitment brings Texas’cumulative contribution for habitat conservation on Canadian breeding grounds important to Texas’ waterfowl to nearly $3 million.
“Waterfowl are a shared resource. As a result, waterfowl habitat conservation has to take place not only here on Texas’ continentally significant wintering grounds but also on the breeding grounds that produce our waterfowl,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “Ducks Unlimited matches every dollar we contribute to the state grants program, and TPWD is proud to be a strong DU partner.”
Through Ducks Unlimited, Texas’ new commitment will be leveraged a minimum of four times to yield at least $1 million for waterfowl habitat conservation in Saskatchewan.
“Ducks Unlimited is very pleased to see the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continue making wise investments in waterfowl habitat important to the birds that wing their way to the Lone Star State each year,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs Jerry Holden. “As banding data shows us a large portion of the ducks harvested in Texas come from Saskatchewan, investing the state’s dollars in this region clearly provides the greatest return for Texas waterfowl hunters.”
Breeding-ground habitat work is critical for the health of continental populations of waterfowl, and Texas’ waterfowl hunters understand that. As such, the more than 41,000 Texas DU members appreciate TPWD’s continued contributions to the state grants program.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife (AFWA) State Grants Program, begun in 1965, is funded primarily through hunting license sales. Funds must be used for habitat conservation in Canada, but the distribution of available funding is decided by each state’s wildlife agency commission following a request for funding proposals. Texas has been participating in the program since 1985.
“The importance of state grants contributions to Canadian habitat conservation and restoration projects cannot be overstated,” said DU Canada’s Director of International Partnerships Pat Kehoe. “Individual state contributions are combined with other state contributions, matched dollar for dollar by DU Inc. and DU Canada, and then used as match for North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants.”
“Ducks Unlimited’s programs in the U.S. and Canada are consistent with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and our prairie programs on both sides of the border are structured to protect native, highly productive habitat while also improving waterfowl production in working agricultural landscapes,” Kehoe said.