US Fish & Wildlife Service
Date of this Version
North American Waterfowl Management Plan (2004).
I. A Conservation Legacy .............1
II. Commitment to the Future.............3
III. Emerging Trends.............4
IV. North American Waterfowl Population Objectives.............5
V. Increasing Our Scientific Base.............16
VI. Institutional Organization.............18
VIII. Looking Forward.............22
In a prairie slough a mallard sets down at the end of her flight north. For Canadians she represents the return of spring, heralding a natural rebirth across the country. Prairie ducks live and reproduce in an environment that has been greatly modified by people. Nevertheless, when managed under principles of conservation, the land can provide economic benefit through agriculture while it continues to sustain waterfowl.
That is the essential thrust of Canadian environmental policy; sustaining natural values while achieving human well-being and economic progress. For example, the Canadian commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change reflects a desire to protect future environments, but to do so in a way that is integrated with sustainable economic activity. The habitat joint ventures established in Canada under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan have become leaders in such approaches. By working to instil waterfowl conservation alongside agriculture, forestry, and other undertakings, the Canadian joint ventures ensure that ducks will continue to fly south. In doing so, they support an environmental agenda in harmony with local economies, and so gain allies for nature. In the modified and managed landscape, healthy, stable populations of waterfowl and other migratory birds are more resistant to the inevitable pressures and upsets caused by human activities than are populations that are at the brink.
The seasonal ebb and flow of waterfowl is one of the most complex and compelling dramas in the natural world. Driven by a genetic memory millions of years in the making, these birds embark twice each year on long-distance journeys between their breeding areas and wintering grounds. Their travels traverse mountains, deserts, prairies, forests, and oceans throughout the northern hemisphere linking the countries, peoples, and ecosystems they visit. The conservation and management of animals capable of such impressive mobility requires strong federal leadership to foster effective partnerships among the many nations, states, provinces, tribes, and organizations that are woven together by the flight paths of these remarkable species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is the principal agency charged with protecting and enhancing the populations and habitats of migratory birds that spend all or part of their lives in the United States. Accordingly, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan will continue to be a major focus for Service efforts. Cooperation and coordination with partners and stakeholders is essential to successfully protect and conserve waterfowl and to ensure their continued enjoyment by hunters, birders, aboriginal groups, and the general public. State wildlife agencies, tribal organizations, and subsistence users play special roles by working with the Service to assume co-management responsibilities for waterfowl harvest and management. These and other partners, including other government agencies, conservation organizations, private industry, landowners, and managers at every scale, must be included in Plan activities to achieve its goals.
The coastal and interior wetlands of Mexico are important habitats during the winter season for a significant proportion of the migratory waterfowl population in North America, as well as for numerous resident and endemic wildlife and plant species.
For our nation, wetlands and waterfowl are a resource of enormous ecological, cultural, and economical importance. Consequently, during the second part of the 20th century Mexico signed several international commitments and cooperation agreements to improve and foster the conservation and management of these birds and their habitats. One of the most relevant and effective programs has been the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. On the basis of these and other legal and policy instruments, the Mexican Government has been supporting and implementing short, medium, and long-term programs and projects throughout the country.
Since the inception of the Plan in 1986,Mexico has been active in its design and implementation. Mexico was initially an “invitee”, but in 1994 signed on as a full partner. Ever since, Mexico has played a dynamic role in the conservation of the wintering grounds of waterfowl populations and resident species, identifying priority habitats, as well as promoting the implementation of sustainable management practices and modern hunting regulations.