06/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/22/2021 08:53
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Proposed Change to Federal Duck Stamp Contest
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to revise regulations governing the annual Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) Contest beginning with the 2022 contest. The proposed revisions would provide artists more flexibility when designing their art and broaden the appeal of the Duck Stamp to more audiences.
'More than $1.1 billion in Duck Stamp sales have been used to acquire wetland habitats that help sequester carbon and contribute to addressing the impacts of climate change, purify water supplies, provide economic support to local communities and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities,' said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams. 'Waterfowl hunters have been significant supporters of the program and have had a profound role in wetland and waterfowl conservation over the last century. The intent of this proposal is to allow artists more freedom of expression when designing their entries.'
This proposed rule would remove the permanent 'celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage' theme and the mandatory inclusion of an appropriate hunting element beginning with the 2022 contest; revise the judging requirements to consider that the entries reflect this theme; and revisit the qualifications for selection as a judge. Since the implementation of the 2020 final regulations, many stakeholders have continued to express their dissatisfaction with this element being a requirement for all entries.
Funds generated from Duck Stamp sales are used to protect waterfowl and wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Numerous other birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians benefit from habitat protected by the Duck Stamp revenues, including an estimated one-third of the nation's endangered and threatened species.
Waterfowl hunters have been the greatest contributors to the program, as they are required to purchase Duck Stamps in order to hunt waterfowl. Many individuals not engaged in hunting also purchase Duck Stamps to contribute to conservation or for the stamp's artistic value.
If finalized as proposed, the regulation would still require the live portrayal of one of the eligible species as the dominant feature. Hunting accessories and scenes, such as dogs, decoys and blinds would be optional components and their inclusion would be left to the artist's discretion.
The 2020 regulations are still in effect for the 2021 contest. Entries must include one of the five eligible species and waterfowl hunting theme or accessory and must be postmarked between June 1 and midnight August 15, 2021.
With this proposed rule, the Service is opening a 30-day public comment period to solicit public input and feedback. The notice will be available at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-MB-2021-0048, and will include details on how to submit your comments.
We will not accept hand-delivered, emailed or faxed comments. We will post all comments on https://www.regulations.gov.
For more information on the Federal Duck Stamp Program, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.