The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission received an award last week from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, recognizing the Commission for its outstanding work in waterfowl conservation and management in the Southeast.
John Stanton, a supervisory wildlife biologist with the Service’s Southeast Region, Division of Migratory Birds, presented the award to Wildlife Commission Executive Director Gordon Myers during the agency’s business meeting in Raleigh.
The Commission’s Migratory Bird Program received the award because of its outstanding efforts over the past several years trapping and banding wood ducks during the pre-season period, which runs from July to mid-September.
“The Wildlife Commission stands out among the states in the Atlantic Flyway for banding, on average, 1,600 wood ducks a year over the past three years,” Stanton said. “In the last 10 years alone, the agency has banded over 11,000 wood ducks during the pre-season period, which is quite an accomplishment.”
The Migratory Bird Program is led by Joe Fuller, the Commission’s migratory game bird coordinator, and Doug Howell, the Commission’s waterfowl biologist. Their trapping and banding efforts have contributed significantly to wood duck conservation and management in the Southeast, according to Stanton.
“It goes without saying, your annual, pre-season wood duck banding accomplishments are critical to the conservation and management of wood ducks in the Atlantic Flyway,” Stanton said.
The Commission’s active participation in the Atlantic Flyway Council’s Migratory Game Bird Technical Section, especially its participation in the Wood Duck and other Dabblers Committee, resulted in the adoption of a new and improved harvest management strategy for wood ducks in the Atlantic Flyway, which stretches from the Arctic Circle down the Atlantic coast and Appalachian Mountains and into the Caribbean.
“It’s really gratifying to receive this award for the Migratory Game Bird Program, which works very closely with federal partners, conservation partners, like Ducks Unlimited, and hunters to monitor, manage and conserve migratory game birds in North Carolina,” Myers said. “I would like to recognize the collective efforts of our outstanding professional staff for their contributions to the program.”