|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
October 6, 2004
Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton, 202-208-5636
United States Reauthorizes North American Waterfowl Management Plan
Interior Secretary Gale Norton today reaffirmed the United States' commitment to international waterfowl conservation efforts by signing an update to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The plan is a public-private approach to manage waterfowl in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Partners have invested more than $2.2 billion to protect, restore or enhance more than 8 million acres of habitat in the plan's history.
"The plan put in place an innovative science-based, partnership driven approach to international bird conservation," Norton said. "Partnership dated some of the scientific processes and priority analysis but the landmark approach they developed only 20 years ago to manage continental waterfowl is just as vital today. Wildlife managers use the plan's design to launch a new era in wildlife conservation, one based on partnerships to conserve shared natural resources."
With final approval from the Canadian and Mexican environmental ministries, the 2004 North American Waterfowl Management Plan -- Strengthening the Biological Foundations will guide the three countries in waterfowl conservation. The plan calls on the partners to manage sustainable landscapes, consult and cooperate with partners and use strong biological foundations to make decisions.
Partners' conservation projects not only advance waterfowl conservation but also make substantial contributions toward the conservation of all wetland-associated species.
The plan is international in scope, projects to advance the plan goals take place at regional and local level. Success is dependent upon the strength of Joint Ventures, which involve federal, state, provincial, tribal, and local governments; businesses; conservation organizations; and individual citizens. Presently, there are 11 habitat Joint Ventures in the United States and three in Canada. Three additional Joint Ventures have been formed to address monitoring and research needs for black ducks, sea duck sand arctic geese.
The original plan established an international committee from each of the three countries. The committee provides a forum for discussion of major, long-term international waterfowl issues and makes recommendations to directors of the three countries' national wildlife agencies.
The U.S. delegation to the plan committee consists of two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives and one state representative from each of the four flyway councils. Canada's six delegates represent the federal and provincial governments. In Mexico, delegates represent the federal government, universities and nonprofit conservation organizations. The three federal wildlife resource agencies each have a permanent seat. The remaining seats have a three-year rotation.
The specific goals of the plan are to establish continental waterfowl conservation objectives and priorities (for example, in the surveyed area, the breeding bird population objective is 8.2 million for mallards); to increase stakeholder confidence in the direction of waterfowl conservation; and to guide partners in strengthening the biological foundation of North American waterfowl conservation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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