California’s Duck Stamps Fund Waterfowl Breeding Grounds in Canada and Critical Habitat in California

On average, Californians buy almost 70,000 duck stamps issued by the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) every year. These sales generate about $1.3 million for projects related to waterfowl.

The Department protects and manages about 5 million waterfowl that overwinter in California each year.

While most of the funding goes to restore and enhance habitat within the state, the Department uses a portion of the money raised to manage additional habitat in Canada.

The waterfowl start their life cycle in Canada, so it makes sense to work on preserving this habitat that is so critical for the birds that will then overwinter in California.

The California Fish and Game Code mandates that $2.25 from the sale of duck stamps go to conserve this habitat in the birds’ breeding grounds in Canada.

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The 1972 legislation directed the CDFW to seek out as much matching funds as they could get to maintain these breeding grounds, so the money would fund as much conservation work as possible.

Both conservation partners and the federal government provide matching funds. In fact, the federal government matched $155,000 in fiscal year 2016-17.

In California, more than $1 million funds habitat restoration and enhancement in key wildlife areas within the state. In the current fiscal year, these include:

  • Butte Valley Wildlife Area
  • Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
  • Honey Lake Wildlife Area
  • Imperial Wildlife Area
  • Kern National Wildlife Refuge
  • Modoc National Wildlife Refuge
  • Morrow Bay Estuary
  • Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Refuge
  • Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
  • Upper Butte Wildlife Area

Additional money goes to fund projects for particular species such as mallards and pintails.

California tightly regulates the use of money from its duck stamps. First, the California Fish and Game Commission approves projects.

Then waterfowl conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Association give their input. So, the money is clearly spent wisely.

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