WASHINGTON – In a win for hunters in Delaware and across the nation, the Senate on Tuesday passed the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, a bill identical to one cosponsored by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) to protect critical wetlands and bird migratory areas for future generations. The bill updates the price of the Federal Duck Stamp for the first time since 1991, with proceeds used to finance wetlands conservation efforts. Inflation over the last two decades has diminished the program’s purchasing power, but the legislation will ensure the duck stamp can continue supporting habitat conservation and outdoor recreation across the country. The legislation has already passed the House and will soon head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“As part of the Atlantic flyway, Delaware’s wetlands support the migration of thousands of waterfowl every year,” Senator Coons said. “Proceeds from the Federal Duck Stamp have played a vital role in conserving our wildlife habitat, but the cost of the stamp has not kept pace with rising land prices. This bipartisan bill will restore the duck stamp’s value by updating its price for the first time in more than two decades. Senate passage of this bill is good news for Delaware’s passionate community of sportsmen and all who enjoy our state’s vibrant natural resources, and I look forward to President Obama signing it into law.”
"The Federal Duck Stamp is a proven and vital tool for wetlands conservation,” Delaware Ducks Unlimited Chairman Louis Caputo, Jr. said. “Dollar for dollar, this program is one of the most successful conservation programs ever created, and is a very effective way to conserve our natural resources in the U.S. The people that buy Federal Duck Stamps are heroes of conservation and the outdoor way of life. Because of their caring and commitment to conservation, numerous benefits continue to exist in the outdoors for all of us to enjoy. The increase is long overdue and will help to ensure the vitality and future of the outdoors for all. The purchase of Federal Duck Stamps has proven to be one of the best investments an individual can make to ensure continued funding and the healthy future of wetlands conservation."
Established in 1934, the duck stamp program has raised more than $800 million and preserved more than six million acres of wetlands for waterfowl conservation. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sale of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Delaware’s two national wildlife refuges — Bombay Hook in Kent County and Prime Hook in Sussex County — draw a combined 200,000 visitors annually that contribute to their local economies. The legislation passed this week requires any additional revenue from the price increase to be used for conservation easements, which ensures that habitat will be better protected for hunting without a substantial increase in federal land ownership.
The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).