In 1958, Congress amended the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act (the Duck Stamp Act), which authorized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Small Wetland Acquisition Program. Under this program, the Service began acquiring wetland easements and to date has protected well over 2 million acres of wetland and grassland habitat, mostly in the duck producing areas of the Dakotas.
The Arrowwood Wetland Management District includes, 314 wetland easements protecting 19,046 acres. Wetland easements are signed agreements purchased from willing private landowners to permanently protect valuable wetlands. The landowner receives a one-time payment and protected wetland basins cannot be drained, burned, filled, or leveled. When these wetlands naturally dry up, they can be farmed, grazed or hayed. The land remains in private ownership, remains on the tax rolls, and the landowner controls access.
These easements protect vital habitat for nesting waterfowl and a host of other marsh dependent species. Without the Small Wetland Acquisition Program waterfowl populations would suffer significant declines. In fact, if we hope to maintain current waterfowl population levels in the Central Flyway additional grassland and wetland easements must be purchased in the Prairie Pothole region to prevent the continuing loss of these important resources.
To learn more about wetland easements, please visit this link.
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