Stamp bill supports wetlands

Great Falls Tribune

Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus are making sure that Duck Stamps still can fulfill their original purpose – preserving wetlands and supporting Montana’s sportsmen and women.

Tester, the former chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and Baucus recently introduced legislation to increase the price of the Federal Duck Stamp to $25. The current price of $15 was set more than 20 years ago.

Tester and Baucus’ legislation is needed because Duck Stamps, the sale of which supports conservation efforts, have lost 40 percent of their value since last being increased in 1991. Paired with higher land values, the decrease in the value of Duck Stamps is making wetland preservation more difficult.

“Sportsmen and women purchase Duck Stamps to preserve wetlands that are home to some of our best places to hunt and recreate,” said Tester, who sought to increase the price of Duck Stamps with his Sportsmen’s Act. “I hear all the time from Montanans concerned about maintaining access to some of our best hunting lands.

This common-sense legislation will help make sure our outdoorsmen and women can continue to enjoy our treasured outdoor traditions and heritage.”

“Montana’s outdoor heritage is the heart of our economy, and the Duck Stamp plays an important role in protecting that outdoor heritage, especially our streams, rivers and lakes,” Baucus said. “This bill is critical to making sure we protect and conserve our pristine wetlands for our kids and grandkids.”

Ninety-eight percent of Federal Duck Stamp revenue goes to acquiring important migratory bird breeding, migration and wintering habitat. Since being created in 1934, Duck Stamps have preserved more than 5 million acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat. In addition to serving as a conservation tool, Duck Stamps serve as hunting licenses and provide access to national wildlife refuges.