Conservation Group Helps Saves Animal Habitat, East Texas Hobby - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/24/03 - East Texas

Conservation Group Helps Saves Animal Habitat, East Texas Hobby

by Alex Carias

Duck hunting pumps an estimated $650 million into the state's economy every year. Some hunters however, are concerned about the future of duck hunting because of the declining amount of habitats.

Duck hunter and guide Russell Sparks says the number of ducks has been declining for several years. That's why a wetlands conservation group continues its efforts to increase overall duck populations.

"Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for the betterment of North American waterfowl," explained J.E. Thomas, Regional Director for Ducks Unlimited.

Thomas says last year ducks unlimited preserved and managed more than 160,000 acres of wetlands. The group predicts that, because of their efforts, waterfowl numbers will be up this year. Hunters here in east texas should benefit when the birds migrate south.

"The Teal are going up, Gadwall are going up, Pintail are on a great increase. And from a guide point of view, that's very good for us. It brings in a great economy," said sparks.

90% of Ducks Unlimited members are hunters, but the conservation efforts also impact people who don't carry a gun.

"There's a lot who do it for bird viewing. When they put these potholes in, water programs, they do it for bird use," added Sparks.

And Sparks says the projects also impact future hunters.

"What it allows is for future generations to hunt, as well as the present," said Sparks.

Still, that future is unknown. Even with conservation efforts, the U.S. And Canada continue to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year

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