Commentary: Ducks Unlimited defends waterfowl habitats

By Charlotte Westing and Nick Docken

Ducks Unlimited is an organization that was founded in the face of an ecological disaster. Drought and intense habitat conversion led to the “dust bowl era.” People were beginning to realize that humans can impact the long-term success of animal populations, and waterfowl hunters were not OK with that.

Since then, Ducks Unlimited has become a premier conservation organization seeking to preserve and protect wetland habitats. Living in Alaska, it can be hard to see the need for this at times. Look all around us, wetlands abound. However, birds need habitat in all parts of their lifecycle and all portions of their migration.

It may not matter how great breeding habitat is in Alaska if Alaska’s breeding waterfowl only have access to degraded staging and wintering habitat because of development in the Lower 48.

Locally, Ducks Unlimited has been involved in waterfowl conversation on the Copper River Delta for decades. In 1984, the Chugach National Forest and Ducks Unlimited initiated an artificial nest island program to address concerns about the decline in dusky Canada geese and DU continues to financially support this program annually. Also, in 2018, DU launched their first Ducks Unlimited Dusky Internship where a selected intern works with the Cordova Ranger District on their annual dusky Canada goose projects.

The Copper Delta chapter of Ducks Unlimited was started 37 years ago and has raised considerable funds for wetlands conservation because of the generosity of the local businesses that donate to the banquet and the people who attend.

This year’s banquet is October 26 at the Reluctant Fisherman. There will be a prime rib dinner and lots of fun merchandise to check out. Come join us to support a great cause. Tickets can be purchased from a committee member or online at ducks.org. Buy your tickets early for a reduced couple’s price.


Charlotte Westing and Nick Docken are the committee co-chairs of the Copper Delta Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.