The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp, formalizing a commitment by both organizations to cooperatively support and promote the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly called the Federal Duck Stamp.
The continued success of the Federal Duck Stamp has been one of the hallmark achievements in the history of North American bird conservation. Since its inception in 1934, the Duck Stamp has generated more than $800 million that has been used to acquire and protect almost 6 million acres of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Duck Stamp. Conservationists, stamp collectors, wildlife watchers, and others buy the stamp to support habitat conservation, and a current Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge open to the public. Refuges offer unparalleled recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching, and photography.
“This MOU will allow the Service to leverage the passion and enthusiasm of the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp in mutually beneficial ways to raise the profile of the Federal Duck Stamp program and raise more funds for conservation,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I look forward to pursuing efforts to engage many new audiences and ultimately raise more funds for habitat conservation.”
Like the many of the independent National Wildlife Refuge Friends Groups, the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp promotes public appreciation of how appropriate wildlife-dependent recreation can be conducted on refuge lands. Unlike many other independent Friends Groups, however, this group is not connected to a single national wildlife refuge or refuge complex.
“Through this MOU, both parties pledge to work together to promote the sale of the stamps to secure valuable wetland and grassland habitat within the National Wildlife Refuge System – where the proceeds from the stamp are invested for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of the public,” said Paul Baicich, president of the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp. “The Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp supports Service-wide efforts that cross many institutional and geographic lines.”
The MOU emphasizes mutual cooperation by the Service and the Friends to promote the wise habitat investments made through the Federal Duck Stamp; educate people about the many wildlife species that benefit through the stamp, including waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds and many other wetland-and-grassland-dependent species; and inform the public of the many opportunities on national wildlife refuges to reap the benefits of their Duck Stamp purchase.
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from sale of the $15 Federal Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the purchase of migratory bird habitat for inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $850 million, helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchase or lease 6 million acres of wildlife habitat on hundreds of refuges and waterfowl production areas in nearly every state. There are 560 national wildlife refuges spread across the 50 states and U.S. territories.
This release was produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.