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Executive order, law benefit duck stamp programs

On January 11, 2001, President Bill Clinton issued a landmark executive order that requires Federal agencies to avoid or minimize any negative impact of their actions on migratory birds.

I believe this order bodes well for the United States federal duck stamp program.

I also believe that legislation signed by President Clinton in 2000 bolsters the prospects of the U.S. junior duck stamp program.

The 2001 executive order also directs federal agencies to take active steps to protect these birds and their habitats, by working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The key points of the order are presented in the nearby box.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services director Jamie Rappaport Clark hailed the order, calling it an important step for conservation.

She further stated: "At a time when populations of many migratory birds species are in decline, the active participation of the federal government can make a significant difference for their survival."

The basic thrust of the order is clear - don't mess with migratory birds or their habitat.

I feel this executive order is important because it provides help at the highest governmental level to support wildlife conservation.

Duck stamps have been doing this for years, and mostly in the shadows. By Clinton's action, the entire duck stamp program is highlighted and takes on a much higher significance.

As reported by Frank R. Jordan in Duck Tracks, the official publication of the National Duck Stamp Collectors Society, the federal junior duck stamp program also received legislative support.

On October 19, 2000, President Clinton approved the Junior Duck Stamp Reauthorization Act. The law has two main purposes.

First, it extends support for the federal junior duck stamp program through 2005, at a total budgeted cost of $250,000.

Second, participation is extended to Puerto Rico, North Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz, D-Texas, had its beginnings in a 1989 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Ortiz stated: "This is a non-controversial program that increases the capacity for schools, states and other institutions to conduct wildlife conservation and education programs."

Some collectors are familiar with the federal junior duck stamp program.
In 1992, a sheet depicting the winning artwork of 9 different children was issued, followed each year by a federal junior duck stamp picturing the art of one of the winners.

A 2000-01 federal junior duck stamp is pictured nearby. The artwork on the stamp, by Bonnie Latham of Minnesota, features two Northern pintails.

Tennessee also has pictured winning artwork by juniors on its state duck stamps, a very suitable and noble use.

The program has involved many, many youngsters in art, wildlife conservation and the stamps themselves. It would please me to see the winning art in the junior art contest to be depicted on a federal duck stamp, in addition to the regularly issued junior duck stamp.

For example, an excellent way to raise additional funds for conservation would be to require any hunter age 16 or younger to buy a junior duck stamp.

I have long disagreed with the free hunting policy for those 16 and younger. I feel people should participate in conservation at an early age, helping them realize that resources are not free or an endless bounty.

The junior duck stamp could be half the price of a regular U.S. $15 duck stamp, to make the financial bite easier to swallow.

Basically, if a youngster can afford a shotgun, shells and hunting gear, he should buy a duck stamp. Perhaps it is the parents that need the lesson, and not the children.

I believe there would be much public outcry if legislation for this idea were proposed in Congress. I am certain that many elected officials would view requiring children to pay a hunting fee as a political death sentence.

I think, however, that such financial obligations teach children responsibility and the importance of paying their own way in society.

Key points of executive order dealing with migratory birds, issued Jan. 11, 2001, by President Bill Clinton
1. Within two years, each federal agency taking an action that may have a negative impact on migratory birds must develop a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning actions to be taken.
2. The order establishes the Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds to assist agencies in implementing the order.
3. Agencies must ensure that environmental analyses of proposed federal actions evaluate the effect of those actions on migratory birds.
4. Agencies must control the spread and establishment in the wild of exotic animals and plants that may harm migratory birds.
5. Agencies must provide advance notice of any action that may result in the taking of migratory birds.

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