HELENA, Mont. – Ducks Unlimited supports legislation sponsored by Montana’s senators to protect the Upper Flathead Valley. Sens. Max Bacus and Jon Tester introduced The North Fork Watershed Protection Act that protects the North Fork of the Flathead Drainage. The legislation is in conjunction with a similar measure in British Columbia.
“The legislation will protect the water quality of downstream flows to key wetlands in this drainage area. This is a critical staging area for migrating waterfowl and supports more than 50,000 waterfowl each year,” said Robert Sanders, DU manager of conservation programs for Montana. “For example, the region’s large number of small wetlands has been known to support one of the highest densities of nesting redheads in the U.S.”
Most of the land in the Flathead Valley is federally owned, with miles of grassland dotted with hundreds of small wetlands. The Intermountain West Joint Venture Coordinated Bird Conservation Plan and numerous federal and state level bird conservation plans list this valley as a priority landscape for waterfowl and other birds.
“It’s imperative water quality in this key area be maintained,” Sanders said, “and DU supports the North Fork legislation as a way to ensure water quality is maintained for these important habitats.”
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.