Over the past century, waterfowl hunters have helped create and conserve millions of acres of wetland habitat, not only providing places for a wide diversity of wildlife to thrive, but also helping in flood control and water purification efforts, and creating significant economic stimulus for rural communities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has today proposed to celebrate hunters’ remarkable achievements and our unique American hunting heritage with a change to the 2018 Federal Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Duck Stamp.
The Federal Duck Stamp Program has become one of the most popular and successful conservation programs ever initiated. While waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older are required to purchase a stamp each hunting season, anyone can buy one and contribute to conservation. Some 1.8 million stamps are sold each year, and as of 2017, Federal Duck Stamps have generated more than $1 billion for the preservation of more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States. A current Federal Duck Stamp is also a free pass into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
In addition to being the only conservation revenue stamp, the Federal Duck Stamp is also unique in the way it is created. Each year, the Service holds an art contest, the only juried art competition sponsored by the Federal Government.
The Service’s proposal would require entries in the 2018 contest to include one or more visual element that reflect the theme “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage.” They must also adhere to existing contest regulations that require a live portrayal of one or more of the five eligible waterfowl species (wood duck, American wigeon, northern pintail, green-winged teal and lesser scaup for 2018) as the dominant foreground feature that is clearly the focus of attention. Contestants will be judged on the quality of their art and how well they illustrate the theme. The contest winner’s art will be made into the 2019-2020 Duck Stamp.
The Service also proposes for 2018 that all selected contest judges must have an understanding and appreciation of America’s waterfowl hunting heritage and be able to recognize scenery or objects related to waterfowl hunting.
In addition to the proposals specific to 2018, the Service is proposing permanent revisions to the scientific names of species on the list of contest design subjects and updates to recognize technological advances in stamp design and printing.
The notice was published in the Federal Register on November 28. Written comments and information concerning this proposal can be submitted by one of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to: [FWS-HQ-MB-2015-0161]
- U. S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. [FWS-HQ-MB-2015-0161]; Division of Policy, Performance and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike – MS: BPHC Falls Church, VA 22041-3808.
Comments must be received within 30 days, on or before December 28, 2017. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.
For more information, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/duck-stamp-contest-and-event-information.php.