Duck Stamp Update

WWA Members’ voices make a difference for Duck Stamp!!

By Bruce Ross, Executive Director

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s March, 2021 Newsletter edition.

If you follow us on Facebook, two weeks ago you saw a press release in which we acknowledged the Governor’s inclusion of the Waterfowl Stamp Increase in his recent budget.  WWA (and others) have been working on this inflationary adjustment for over a decade – it was last increased in 1997, over 23 years ago!  So, we were pleased to see this first hurdle appear in the rear-view mirror.  Especially after a LOT of energy and expenditure of political capital.

WWA Executive Director Bruce Ross and Nels Swenson from Wisconsin Ducks Unlimited recently met with Wisconsin State Representative Robin Vos to discuss the benefits of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp and why a modest adjustment is needed after 23 years so we can continue to provide critical habitat work in Wisconsin.

And many of you helped make this happen when you communicated with the governor’s office to express your support for the adjustment. I received an email from the deputy chief of staff that we worked with that stated:

“…. Your organization did a fantastic job building grassroots support.  I think the waterfowl stamp increase along with the strong investment in Stewardship will yield tremendous benefits in habitat protection and restoration.  Thanks again for all of your hard work and support…”

But our work isn’t done. The Legislature will spend the next three months modifying the Governor’s budget proposal. We need to let members of the legislature know that after more than 23 years, a minor adjustment to the price of the waterfowl stamp makes sense.

If you haven’t already, please reach out to your local legislators and tell them that you support a minor adjustment to the price of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp. Find your legislator here (type in your address in top right search box).

And keep an eye peeled for a WWA ACTION ALERT in the next few weeks that will ask you to reach out to whomever your legislator is on this topic.

As I’m writing this, I just finished sitting in on a Zoom meeting of the DNR’s Migratory Game Bird Committee.  This group meets several times a year to discuss waterfowling issues that require statewide coordination.  Today’s meeting considered the 51 applications for the apportionment of the State’s Waterfowl Stamp Funds.  This group, comprised of conservation groups like WWA, DU, NRCS, F&WS and regional DNR biologists, systematically rank-ordered the various projects that have been submitted to make sure that our limited stamp dollars provide the highest return on investment.  In addition, they look at where the previous monies have been spent to make sure that the projects that were funded have delivered on their promise.   This year, we had $1.7 million in projects submitted, and money was only available to fund half of them…. meaning that nearly 30 projects went unfunded.

I started the article mentioning our Facebook announcement of this increase in the Governor’s budget.  This was by far the most engaging of our recent posts.  And it never ceases to amaze me how much incorrect, misleading or pejorative information such things generate on social media.  You might want to take a look at another article in this newsletter: “Waterfowl Stamp: Facts, Fiction, or Strongly-Worded Opinions?” (or why you shouldn’t rely on social media for your facts). And here’s the press release I’ve mentioned: