Conservation Roundup: Duck Campaign, Biofuel News, Saving SF Bay

_by Bob Marshall
_

Duck Campaign Gains Momentum

Ducks Unlimited's "Double Up for Ducks" campaign urges sportsmen to buy two $15 federal ducks stamps this year instead of just one. This is an effort to offset expected cuts to federal wetlands protection programs. Not surprisingly, the campaign just gained a prominent supporter: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency which administers many of the nation's major wetlands conservation programs.

The cuts are expected to be serious, and this is one conservation program where the money doesn't disappear through the federal budget rabbit hole. Duck stamp sales has been the most efficient program for preserving waterfowl wetlands. It funds the Small Wetlands Acquisition Program (SWAP), which is responsible for purchasing titles or easements on three million acres in the potholes country -- prime waterfowl production acres hand-picked by waterfowl managers to form the backbone of the duck factory.

Nation's Top Science Group Skeptic of Biofuel's Potential

Sportsmen gained another weapon in their fight against biofuel programs and their damaging effects on wildlife and the environment. A report from the National Academies of Science says the nation's drive to expand biofuels is unlikely to achieve its goals -- which include cleaning up the environment and reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

A report by the Academies' National Research Council looks into the mandates in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Originally welcomed as a way to decrease carbon emissions, these programs resulted in an explosion of crops, especially corn, which has impacted land conservation programs and sent food prices soaring.

Turning Back Time in San Francisco Bay

A levee built years ago to create commercial salt ponds in San Francisco Bay was deliberatly breached to help restore the integrity of the ailing ecosystem. This is part of the wider South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, the largest tidal wetland restoration effort on the West Coast -- 3,000 acres have already been restored.