Partner Profile: Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has a vision to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. DU is regarded among the scientific and conservation community as the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. DU is dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 million acres, thanks to partners and supporters across the continent. Our mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife.

DU’s conservation programs have always had a strong biological foundation. Conservation decisions are based on where our science determines we can do the most good for waterfowl. DU continues to develop information about how birds respond to landscape, habitat and environmental changes.

The Great Plains Region was DU’s first regional office, established in 1984. Previously, DU had focused its conservation programs only in the Canadian prairies and boreal forest but began to realize the significance of the U.S. prairies in waterfowl production.

Today, the region, headquartered in Bismarck, N.D., employs an engineering department, wetland and waterfowl scientists, regional biologists, realty specialists and policy professionals stationed throughout the seven-state region. Biologists and engineers work with farmers and ranchers to develop water and grassland projects beneficial to both agriculture and wildlife.

A major focus of the Great Plains Region is the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) where DU is working with landowners and partners to conserve grasslands and wetlands in the “Duck Factory.” DU collaborates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire perpetual easements in the Dakotas and Montana. DU biologists also work across the PPR to assist farmers and ranchers in finding conservation programs that work for their operations. They also help with the often onerous paperwork required to apply for those programs.

DU staff and grassroots volunteers also advocate for state and federal policies that discourage habitat destruction or provide incentives for voluntary habitat conservation. DU’s policy positions are science-based and solutions-oriented.

This spring, our research continues in the one-third of the Prairie Pothole Region that shares space with the Bakken oil field. DU and its partners in the project are looking to see if changes in the landscape are affecting waterfowl habitats and production.

DU is headquartered in Memphis, TN and is overseen by a national volunteer board. For more information on our work, visit

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