Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

March 30, 2009 22:34 ET

Prime Minister Harper Tips Cap to the Role of Hunters and Anglers in Conservation

Leader acknowledges Canada's need for conservation; applauds role of hunters in DUC and their conservation efforts

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - March 30, 2009) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a well-deserved compliment to anglers and hunters during his keynote speech at the 81st Annual Meeting and Conference of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) on March 21st. The prime minister directed specific praise at Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC).

"Let me just add that Ducks Unlimited deserves tremendous credit for the outstanding work they've been doing for decades to conserve and improve waterfowl habitat in this country," Harper told conference delegates. "This is work that has served as tangible proof to Canadians that hunting and conservation go hand in hand."

Harper's words were positively received by DUC Executive Vice-President Jeff Nelson.

"To be specifically singled out by the prime minister and acknowledged at the OFAH meeting is particularly meaningful to Ducks Unlimited," said Nelson. "Duck hunters and anglers are the core of our volunteer force, raising funds in the U.S. and Canada that support habitat conservation in Canada. Given that up to 70 per cent of wetlands have disappeared in settled areas across Canada, their involvement is key to achieving our conservation goals. Supportive comments by the prime minister acknowledge the great work anglers and hunters do for Canada."

According to Nelson, the OFAH and DUC enjoy a positive working relationship and he commended OFAH leader Mike Reader for inviting DUC to participate in the annual conference. Nelson noted that a strong relationship between the two organizations is critical to DUC's wetland conservation arsenal and is indeed bearing fruit for waterfowl.

"Recognition by the prime minister of the significant contributions that hunters and anglers make to habitat conservation for the benefit of all species of wildlife, not to mention the billions of dollars that these healthy outdoor activities generate for the Canadian economy, underscores the importance of participation by the outdoor community in provincial and national organizations like OFAH and DUC," Nelson said.

Nelson said the role and values of wetland habitats to society through the services they provide, such as moderating the effects of droughts and floods, is starting to be better understood by Canadians and governments alike, particularly now with looming threats of springtime flooding in Manitoba and elsewhere. But, he added, more needs to be done and a growing number of people, whether they hunt, fish or enjoy other outdoor activities, are joining forces with DUC to take action in the conservation of our nation's wetlands.

"Wetlands are an integral component of Canada's landscape and play a significant role in watershed health, especially at a large scale," he said. "We will continue to work with Prime Minister Harper's government to develop effective national programming, including new and additional sources of financial support for conservation programs that protect and restore these valuable systems for the betterment of waterfowl, wildlife and people. The continued disappearance or degradation of wetlands across our country puts our quality of life in jeopardy."

"Canada's hunters and anglers understand wetlands and how they sustain healthy waterfowl and wildlife populations. This translates into the ongoing support they provide for DUC's vital on-the-ground conservation work," Nelson concluded. "We appreciate opportunities to recognize their significant conservation role."

Active in every province and territory, Ducks Unlimited Canada is a private, non-profit organization that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people. Website: ducks.ca.

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