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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

It’s More than A Duck Stamp. It’s a Champion for Conservation

Duck Stamp
The President just signed legislation increasing the price of the Duck Stamp.

It’s sometimes easy to lose hope these days, given the challenges our nation faces and the seemingly intractable political polarization of our society. But President Obama’s approval today of bipartisan legislation raising the price of the Federal Duck Stamp is a reminder that we’re still capable of great things as a nation.

MORE INFORMATION
What FWS partners are saying about the signing of the Duck Stamp Act of 2014

The Federal Duck Stamp program is one of the most successful conservation initiatives in history. Since the program’s creation in 1934, funding from duck stamp sales has been used to acquire and permanently protect more than 6 million acres of vital National Wildlife Refuge System habitat. Much of this wetland and grassland acreage – which supports hundreds of native species of migratory birds, animals and plants – would otherwise have been plowed under or paved over.

Rising land prices have steadily eroded our ability to protect other vulnerable habitat through acquisitions and the purchase of conservation easements on private land. Raising the price of the stamp from $15 to $25 will restore most of the purchasing power that has been lost since the price was last increased in 1991. With the additional funds generated by the increase, we anticipate being able to protect an estimated 17,000 additional acres of habitat every year.

This will also benefit Americans of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of where they live.

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A Year to be Thankful – and a Future to be Hopeful

Dan Ashe
Dan Ashe talks at an event about rhino horn trafficking. On his left is Jean Williams, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division. Photo Credit: USFWS

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Fortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is blessed with employees who would make Edison proud. Challenge and opportunity are two sides of the same coin, and you respond to both the same way: by rolling up your sleeves and working hard. The results are as inspirational as they are incredible. Below are just a few highlights of those successes:

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Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery: 125 Years of Innovation

Craig Brook
A leaping salmon statue graces Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. Photo credit: Atlantic Salmon Federation

This week we celebrate a significant milestone – the 125th Anniversary of Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Maine. Since 1889, Craig Brook has been the linchpin of efforts to conserve Atlantic salmon across the Gulf of Maine watershed.

In a larger sense, Craig Brook’s evolution over the past 125 years mirrors the continual evolution and reinvention of wildlife conservation in the United States. Like the Fish and Wildlife Service, the hatchery has continually innovated and reinvented itself to adapt to changing conservation needs and values. 

Craig Brook began by raising and stocking salmon in the nearby Penobscot River.

Craig Brook
Charles Atkins transferring salmon at Whitemore’s Point, on Penobscot Bay. Photo credit: USFWS

The groundbreaking experiments and observations done by Charles Atkins, the first hatchery manager, laid the foundation for modern salmon hatchery science and greatly expanded scientific knowledge about the complex life cycle of Atlantic salmon.

As Atlantic salmon populations continued to decline in the face of rapid industrial development and dam construction along nearly every waterway feeding into the Gulf of Maine, the hatchery expanded its operations to support conservation on multiple rivers across the state. Today, Craig Brook is one of the most advanced fish hatcheries in the world, applying cutting edge research and technology to aquatic conservation in ways that would amaze Atkins and his contemporaries. 

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