$850 million raised, 6 million acres protected … duck stamps have conservation clout

The Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp, familiarly known as the duck stamp, is a tiny stamp that wields a lot of conservation clout. Since 1934, sales of the stamp have raised $850 million for the acquisition and protection of more than 6 million acres of wetlands and grasslands as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.


South Dakota artist Adam Grimm’s painting of a canvasback graces this year’s duck stamp. His work was selected from 202 entries in the annual federal duck stamp art contest, the only art competition sponsored by the federal government. See the gallery of duck stamps from over the years.

The stamp sells for $15, and ninety-eight percent of every dollar is invested in wildlife habitat protection. The program is considered one of the most successful conservation programs in the world.

The legacy of duck stamp dollars is strong in the Northeast. For example, more than 90-percent of the refuge lands in Delaware were acquired with stamp sale revenue, which is administered by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. Find out which national wildlife refuges are part of this legacy.

While hunters over the age of 16 are required to purchase a duck stamp each year in order to hunt migratory waterfowl, duck stamps are also purchased by collectors, birders, conservationists, educators, and many others. The duck stamp also serves as a free pass onto national wildlife refuges that charge a fee for admission (although many don’t).

The 2014-2015 duck stamp goes on sale today at many sporting good and retail stores, and at some post offices and national wildlife refuges. You can also purchase it online.

In the Northeast, many national wildlife refuges have been able to conserve lands because of these Stamp/MBCF dollars. For example, almost 98 percent of the 4,700-acre Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts was purchased through Stamp/MBCF dollars, as have 95 percent of the 16,000-acre Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.


Duck stamp dollars at work protecting a marsh at the Pondicherry Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in New Hampshire.

The Stamp is also a free pass for an entire year, July to July, at all national wildlife refuges that charge for admission. It’s a real bargain!

Today, we recognize the invaluable contribution we all can make whether we’re hunters, hikers, bird watchers or artists simply by buying a duck stamp. It’s the ultimate example of paying our outdoor heritage forward.

One Comment on “$850 million raised, 6 million acres protected … duck stamps have conservation clout

  1. Pingback: $850 million raised, 6 million acres protected …

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