“The Impact of Ducks Unlimited Washington on Pacific Northwest Waterfowl”


The years 1930 were tough period for Americans. It was a time when the Great Depression left many families poor, and farmers attempting to cover their losses and poor yields by acquiring more area. The problem was that there was a drought in the Great Plains and Midwest experienced extreme droughts throughout the 1930s. This shortage of water and the increased agriculture pressures harmed fragile prairie grasses, ranging from The Llano Estacado of Texas to the boreal forests in Canada. The topsoil of the Plains which had grown over time dried out and blew to the distance of New York City, where ships in Long Island Sound lay hidden by dirt of the dying prairies thousands of miles far away.

There was no improvement in Canada. The vast Ducks Unlimited Washington in Alberta, Manitoba, and the other provinces were dewatered to enable the land be used for cultivation. However, the soil underneath these marshes, which had significant amounts of peat, proved unsuitable for agriculture. Even more so, the peat dried out and quickly caught fire. Draining marshes also damaged water table of the Canadian prairie. Families that were already dealing with the most severe drought in recent memory, suddenly discovered their wells drained.


As with the wells in those in Ducks Unlimited Washington, the populations of Ducks Unlimited Washington were dwindling. Breeding birds saw their Canadian habitats destroyed, and waterfowl populations soaring across the opposite side of their border. This led to the fact that in the United States, bird refuges were created as well as the very first Federal Duck Stamp was issued in 1934. In 1934, the Bureau of Biological Survey, predecessor of the present U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, used funds to fund habitat restoration initiatives in the United States but could do absolutely nothing in Canada. In 1936, the waterfowl breeding season was reduced to 30 days. Species such as brant, canvasbacks, buffleheads, wood ducks redheads and more were completely protected. Bait, live decoys, and shotguns with a gauge greater than 10 were prohibited. Many hunters predicted that in 1937, waterfowl hunting would be a complete stop. Some believed that it would be too for the United States to save its waterfowl.


In a fisherman’s lodge on the bank of the Beaverkill River in New York, the editor Joseph Palmer Knapp discussed the declining in duck populations together with Ray E. Benson, director of publicity of the More Game Birds in America Foundation. The two of them Knapp along with Benson was John Huntington, who had established the Game Conservation Institute in New Jersey as well as Arthur Bartley, vice president of More Game Birds in America and Foundation’s director of field. More Game Birds has contributed to improving upland bird populations by enticing farmers to release and raise game birds such as quail and pheasants, and also to provide an appropriate habitat for the birds. But, since wild ducks moved and are not domesticated, the method More Game Birds used would not be effective in boosting the population of ducks. Instead, the group thought that preserving habitats is the best way to go about protecting ducks.


The issue, of course, was that, unlike game birds domesticated that were confined in the same zone throughout their lives waterfowl depended on good habitat along their the migration routes that ran across Canada across Mexico. It was the of Biological Survey’s funds could not be used in Mexico. of Biological Survey’s funds were not able to be utilized in Canada as it is the home of million of acres of crucial nesting habitat. Any conservation plan focused on increasing the population of waterfowl requires a global effort.


Knapp suggested that the proposed company be named “Ducks.” Bartley pointed out that Canadian companies must use the word “Limited,” but Knapp disliked the title “Ducks, Limited.”


“Dammit,” Knapp said, “we don’t want limited ducks!”


And then Bartley offered “Ducks Unlimited,” and the most significant waterfowl conservation group in the United States was created.



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