Pro Staff Graduate: Wesley's Inside Look at Delta Waterfowl

width=500 A while back I was presented with the opportunity to learn a little more about Delta Waterfowl. I thought I knew quite a bit about Delta and what they did—but man was I wrong. Before I get started, you may be asking yourself: How is Delta Waterfowl any different than Ducks Unlimited? Well, Delta Waterfowl's goal is to sustain and boost waterfowl population through a science-based program of studying the birds and then providing the things they need to help them breed better. Ducks Unlimited approach is conservation of land. They believe that if there is more land for the ducks, then there will be more ducks produced. Both are excellent organizations with two different opinions. Now back to Delta. Delta Waterfowl has a mission to secure the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. As I stated before, they do this through science and research. Delta focuses its research where they believe it is needed most—breeding grounds. They are incorporating new research techniques to find out more about any and all challenges that breeding ducks face. Although Delta’s main focus is research and science, they also have other programs that have the common goal of producing more ducks. First, they have the Predator Management program. Because of human settlement on the native breeding grounds, wetlands and grasslands have been lost. When there is less land, that means there is a higher predator-per-square-mile population than there previously was. Because of this, nest success for ducks has slowly declined much below desirable levels, so Delta and its partners apply predator management on blocks of 23,040 acres of land. Another program Delta has is the Hen House program. This program builds hen houses for ducks, mostly mallards. This program is designed to provide mallards with a safe place to nest. Delta’s Student Research program has studied the hen house program since 1991, and they have found that ducks using the nesting structures experience an 80 percent nesting success. What I believe is one of the best aspects of this program though is that it can be done by nearly anyone. Local chapters all around are participating in this program. This program alone I think has one of the biggest impacts on waterfowl breeding. The final program Delta has to offer is Adopt a Pothole. This program was established in 1991. What the Adopt a Pothole program does is get landowners to sign a perpetual wetland easement, which states they agree not to drain wetlands and destroy associated uplands. One final thing I would like to talk about that Delta Waterfowl does—and that I believe is very important—is their Student Research program. This is a program for college students who are majoring in fields like wildlife biology and wildlife conservation. Delta Waterfowl gives out scholarships to students in turn for research. The students have made many breakthroughs and have helped Delta in more ways than one. So now that you know more about Delta Waterfowl, you may be asking how this applies to me? Well, I personally believe that the younger generation of sportsmen and sportswomen—especially us at Generation Wild— are the future our hunting and fishing. That said, I also believe that Delta Waterfowl plays a very significant part in the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. So, to put two and two together, I think that as a mentor to the younger generation it’s my duty to bestow upon them something I love to do which is waterfowl hunt. In turn it’s also my duty to bestow upon them the importance of waterfowl conservation. After all, hunting and conservation go hand in hand. Delta Waterfowl is a top-notch organization with top-notch goals. Because of their work, I believe there will be many ducks in the future for hunters like you and I—and future generations. So I hope you enjoyed this piece and learned something from it. Check back soon for my next waterfowling adventure! —Wesley Williams