State waterfowl hunters meet with legislators to explain support of duck stamp hike
Wisconsin ducks need more bucks.
That’s what state legislators and staffers heard at an information session Sept. 10 in the State Capitol.
Several waterfowl groups, including Ducks Unlimited and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, along with support from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Green Bay Duck Hunters, explained that for every $1 provided by the state duck stamp, organizations provide a $1 match and that is leveraged through federal funds to provide a minimum of $6 for habitat improvement.
Those funds are used to maintain and improve wetlands and nesting habitat, used by waterfowl, as well as amphibians, and shorebirds, and help provide flood control and clean water.
The current $7 state duck stamp is sold to waterfowl hunters and provides about $520,000 per year for use on projects, but project requests since 2012 have varied from $1 million to $2 million, leaving many projects unfunded.
The money is primarily used for major maintenance projects, followed by restoration and enhancement of wetlands and habitat.
Wisconsin wetlands are important, because about two-thirds of the annual harvest of ducks is comprised of birds hatched in Wisconsin or adjacent states.
One-third of the stamp funds are used to protect wetlands and habitat in Canada, which is where the remaining one-third of Wisconsin’s harvests originates.
The state duck stamp has been the same cost since 1997, while inflation and higher costs of gasoline and equipment to “build” habitat eat away at its effectiveness.
Two state legislators, Rep. Ken Skowronski, R-Franklin, and Sen. Pat Testin, R-Stevens Point, are looking for co-sponsors for bills that would increase the cost of the state stamp to $12, and require the DNR to report to the Joint Finance Committee each biennium how stamp funds are used.
America’s conservation system is funded by users. The users represented by these groups are asking for a price increase that they are willing to pay to help the ducks.