Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today unveiled a special edition Federal Duck Stamp envelope, or cachet, that hunters, stamp collectors and other conservationists can purchase for $25 -- or $10 more than the cost of a regular Duck Stamp -- to help conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The funds will be used to acquire wetlands for inclusion in national wildlife refuges along the Gulf Coast.
"When the Dust Bowl of the 1930s destroyed many wetlands, our nation's sportsmen lobbied Congress to support the creation of the Duck Stamp for wetland acquisition and conservation," Salazar said. "Today, the wildlife of the Gulf Coast faces new threats -- from the current oil spill to disappearing wetlands -- that we must rise to confront. This special edition duck stamp cachet will provide hunters and other conservationists the opportunity to once again go beyond the call of duty by conserving disappearing wetlands for generations to come."
"Duck stamps have been a conservation tradition since 1934," said Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rowan Gould. "Waterfowl hunters, stamp collectors, and wildlife supporters have been the mainstay of that tradition, but we need to expand that community to address broad-scale challenges such as the disappearance of wetlands, accelerated climate change, and other 21st century resource threats."
The cachet features a silk rendering of an award-winning photograph of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Florida by David Moynahan and the 2010-2011 Federal Duck Stamp, which depicts an American wigeon painted by artist Robert Bealle of Waldorf, MD.
All migratory bird hunters must buy a $15 Federal Duck Stamp, formally known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, each year in addition to state licenses, stamps and permits. The design of the stamp is determined by an annual art competition, and the stamps have become popular with stamp collectors and wildlife art enthusiasts as well as those who simply want to contribute to wetland conservation.
Since 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $750 million to acquire and protect more than 5.3 million acres of wetlands, including habitat on hundreds of the 552 National Wildlife Refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S. territories.
The public can purchase the special edition Federal Duck Stamp cachet from Amplex Corporation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's distributor, by dialing 1-800-852-4897 or at www.duckstamp.com.
Bass Pro Shops is underwriting the first edition of the cachet and will market the cachet in its retail stores across America and Canada.
Following the announcement, Salazar toured the Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge which is part of the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex and met with Fish and Wildlife Service employees to hear about their conservation projects and efforts.
Nearly $4 million in construction projects are underway at the complex under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including projects at Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge, Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge and Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge. These projects will provide a gateway for visitors and environmental education rooms for school groups, improve wildlife viewing opportunities, and improve energy efficiency.
Seven other ARRA projects at the complex will help maintain wildlife habitat and provide improved recreational boating facilities for the public.