901 FW 1, Authority and Responsibility


FWM# 264: (new)
Date: July 24, 1996
Series: Special Program Series
Part 901: Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp
Originating Office: Duck Stamp Office

1.1 Purpose. The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Duck Stamp, is issued by the U.S. Government to produce revenue for the acquisition of habitat for migratory waterfowl. Every waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older is required to have a valid (personally signed) stamp in his or her possession while hunting ducks, geese, and swans. In addition, Duck Stamps may be used in lieu of entrance fees to access designated National Wildlife Refuges. Receipts from the sale of the stamps and royalties from the sale of products bearing reproductions of the Duck Stamp are deposited in the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (a dedicated fund which is not subject to appropriations).

1.2 Authority. Authority for the disposition and sale of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is found in the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act, as amended, (16 U.S.C. 718-718j) also known as the Duck Stamp Act.

1.3 Background.

A. The concept of a Federal revenue stamp to generate funds to preserve and expand waterfowl habitat was started in the 1910's by waterfowl hunters and conservationists concerned about declining migratory waterfowl populations. J. N. "Ding" Darling, nationally known political cartoonist, conservationist and subsequently, the Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey, a predecessor of the present U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, created the first duck stamp design and helped launch the Duck Stamp Program by securing funds for the program from Congress. On March 16, 1934, the Congress passed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act requiring every waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp. Through the active support from conservation, art, philatelic and business interests, the Federal Duck Stamp has become one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated.

B. The Duck Stamp program prior to 1987 consisted mainly of administering the annual Federal Duck Stamp Contest. However, in 1984 -- the 50th Anniversary of the Duck Stamp -- the Service committed resources to increase the public awareness of the program in an effort to increase Duck Stamp sales. In 1986, the program was expanded to develop new mechanisms for visibility, improve the professional image of the office, and implement changes that would be beneficial to the Service. With declining waterfowl populations resulting in fewer people purchasing stamps for hunting purposes, a particular emphasis was placed on identifying audiences other than hunters who would buy the stamps.

C. Today the Federal Duck Stamp Program can be divided into four areas of activity: the Duck Stamp Contest (901 FW 2), Duck Stamp Sales (901FW3), the Duck Stamp Licensing Program (901 FW 4), and the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program (901 FW 5).

1.4 Objective. The main objective of the Federal Duck Stamp Program is to increase the public awareness of, and educate the public about, the Federal Duck Stamp Program in order to increase Duck Stamp sales from which receipts will be deposited into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and used for the acquisition of habitat for migratory waterfowl.

1.5 Responsibilities.

A. Assistant Director - External Affairs is responsible for oversight of the Federal Duck Stamp Program. The Assistant Director is authorized to issue the Federal Duck Stamp Program Handbook (901FW), specifying detailed operating procedures for administration of stamp consignment and sales. The handbook is available from the Federal Duck Stamp Office.

B. Chief, Federal Duck Stamp Office is responsible for:

(1) Managing the program so as to increase stamp and royalty receipts deposited into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, thereby resulting in increased wetlands acquired for waterfowl.

(2) Increasing public awareness of the stamp and its contribution to wetlands and waterfowl conservation.

(3) Developing and following strict management controls to assure proper handling of and accountability for stamps, products, and associated monies.

C. Regional Directors are responsible for overall operation of the program in their Regions in accordance with this Part. Regional Directors will appoint a Regional Duck Stamp Coordinator to implement and follow the procedures outlined in this Part and the Handbook.


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