The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many partners announced today that the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy (MWL) and the “Year of the Duck” celebration will kick off with five waterfowl and wetland events around the state on Saturday, Sept. 8.
For waterfowlers, other hunters and anyone that enjoys the great outdoors, the MWL creates a call to action to honor yesterday, engage today and build for tomorrow. This partnership between various government agencies and non-government conservation organizations, waterfowl hunters and the public aims to improve waterfowl populations and wetland habitat; increase waterfowl hunting participation and promote the value of waterfowl hunting; and engage citizens to take positive action to preserve the state’s waterfowl and wetlands legacy.
The MWL coalition plans to build a community of increasingly engaged hunters and non-hunters who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation.
“The Michigan Waterfowl Legacy is a 10-year, cooperative partnership to restore, conserve and celebrate Michigan’s waterfowl, wetlands and waterfowl hunting community,” said Barbara Avers, DNR waterfowl and wetland specialist and member of the MWL steering committee. “We are excited that so many important partners are working together for the future of waterfowl and wetlands.”
MWL partners believe consistent and focused efforts are needed to ensure a rich future for waterfowl and wetlands in Michigan. Michigan continues to be a national leader in wetland and waterfowl conservation. However, numerous threats and issues continue to cause concern. For example, invasive species and development threaten wetland habitat; Michigan’s breeding mallard population has seen a long-term decline; there are increasing demands for food, fuel and space that threaten breeding habitat; the number of waterfowl hunters is declining; and public funding for conservation continues to decline.
Avers explained that, as government funding for conservation continues to decrease, it is becoming increasingly more important for the public to help fund efforts to conserve our wildlife.
The upcoming Year of the Duck in 2012-2013 is a great time to celebrate Michigan’s waterfowl and wetlands, as 2012 marks several significant anniversaries including 75 years of Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Pittman-Robertson Act, and 25 years of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
“Michigan has a rich and diverse waterfowl and wetlands heritage. Whether you duck hunt every year in a Managed Waterfowl Hunt Area, sit on the back porch and watch the waterfowl migration every fall, or get your drinking water from a groundwater stream purified by a wetlands, you – as a Michigan resident – are part of this legacy,” Avers said. “Join the ranks of your fellow citizens who want to see our precious resources protected for the generations to come, and be the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy!”
The Sept. 8 kick-off events will be held around the state at the following locations:
Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival at the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area
37205 Mouillee Road, Route 2, Rockwood
Festival hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy seminars and demonstrations, or find a great deal at the Trading Post.
Sportsmen for Youth Day at the Muskegon County Fair Grounds
6621 Heights Ravenna Road, Fruitport
Bring the kids from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a great day of outdoor activities. There’s always a chance to win a raffle prize!
Ducks Unlimited Project Dedication at the Nayanquing Point State Game Area
1570 Tower Beach Road, Pinconning
Ducks Unlimited will dedicate an important coastal wetland project at Nayanquing Point and celebrate its partnerships. The afternoon will also feature a DU Greenwing event for kids. Bring the family to learn about important conservation work going on in the state and have some fun. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Family Waterfowl Day at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center at Mitchell State Park
6087 E M-115, Cadillac
This is an opportunity for the family to get outdoors and participate in waterfowl-related activities. The park is a beautiful area with many hiking opportunities, and the center features an exhibit hall. MWL event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m.
Family Waterfowl Day at the U.P. Pocket Park
Located at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds, 2401 12th Ave. North, Escanaba
From 1 to 4 p.m., there will be events at the park designed to educate about waterfowl identification; duck and goose calling; duck and goose decoys; blinds and concealment; hunting rules and safety; hunting heritage (e.g., decoy carving and duck call use); and retriever use. Bring the entire family.
To learn more about the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy, visit www.michigan.gov/mwl.