Excellent waterfowl habitat is disappearing in pothole country. As wetlands
and grasslands are drained and plowed, prospects for waterfowl become even
more tenuous. Grasslands for Tomorrow, an initiative developed by
DU as one of its premier conservation initiatives, seeks to
protect some of the last strongholds for breeding waterfowl. Land acquisition
is an important part of this initiative. Through this program, DU
purchases properties that (1) have the potential to be critical nesting habitat,
but are in need of habitat restoration, or (2) provide excellent habitat, but
are threatened by cultivation or other conversions. Often, situations arise
where landowners actively seek DU to sell or gift their land,
knowing that the land will be well-managed as quality waterfowl habitat for
future generations. By employing a strategy of revolving capital through
sequential land purchases and sales, DU is able to improve
the efficiency of every dollar gifted.
When landowners do not wish to sell permanent easements on their land and choose to liquidate a land holding, DU takes a very scientific approach to deciding on our involvement. If the land has substantial waterfowl habitat and it would likely be lost to cultivation under new ownership, DU can save substantial future costs by acquiring, protecting and re-selling the land with minimal restoration. This approach to conservation is far more cost-effective than allowing the loss of habitat and incurring much greater costs in restoring similar habitat elsewhere. DU focuses on the identification of threatened habitat, through a strong science program, while seeking to minimize the cost of maintaining productive waterfowl habitat
After Ducks Unlimited acquires a property, any needed grassland
or wetland restorations are performed and the land is protected in perpetuity
with conservation easements. Ducks Unlimited attempts to find suitable conservation
buyers to purchase the land once habitat restorations are complete and easements are
in place. To-date, restored land has been sold to state conservation agencies,
the USFWS Refuge System, and private citizens.
The Grasslands for Tomorrow initiative has targeted the acquisition, restoration and sale of about 72,000 acres over the next 15 years, and is part of a larger plan to permanently protect more than two million acres in the U.S. prairies of the 'best of the best' remaining breeding habitat for waterfowl on the continent.
A Conservation Land Directory has been designed as an innovative approach to selling DU land to private buyers interested in owning landscapes dedicated to wildlife conservation. Using an internet-based auction format, anyone can bid on property that is offered for sale. The process is simple:
1. Register as a Conservation Buyer Register Here
2. Sign and mail to DU a completed Conservation Buyer Contract
3. Read the Property Information Packet detailing each property
4. Submit a bid on the property
Once the auction ends, the successful bidder who submits the highest bid purchases the land. The land is sold back into private ownership in prime condition for waterfowl and other wildlife and ready for enjoyment by the new owner.