DEEP: 2002 Duck Stamp to Be Last Collector Edition

2002 Connecticut Duck Stamp to Be Last Collector Edition
Adapted from an article that appeared in the September/October 2002 issue of  Connecticut Wildlife.

{2002 Connecticut Duck Stamp Painting}

2002 Duck Stamp Features Greater Scaup
Noted wildlife artist Robert Richert was commissioned to create the 2002 Connecticut Duck Stamp, which features a pair of greater scaup flying past the lighthouse at Penfield Reef off of Fairfield. The 2002 stamp may be purchased at town clerks’ offices for $5.00. Full-color art prints and stamps for collectors may be purchased at many Connecticut art dealers. Funds raised from the sale of duck stamps are used only for wetland and waterfowl conservation in Connecticut.

Dollars for Ducks
Connecticut, like most other states, has experienced dramatic losses in both freshwater and tidal wetlands. It is estimated that 50 percent of our pre-settlement tidal wetlands have been lost to development and filling. Many of the tidal wetlands that remain provide a fraction of their potential wildlife benefit due to grid ditching, other human caused manipulations and exotic plant invasions. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that over 74 percent of Connecticut’s original inland wetlands have been lost. Thus, it is imperative for waterfowl and other wetland species that we protect what remaining wetlands we have and that restoration and enhancement of existing wetlands be pursued.

Since its inception in 1993, Connecticut Duck Stamp sales have raised over $1 million dollars specifically for wetland conservation in the state. Each year project proposals are submitted and those deemed most beneficial are funded. Some of these projects have ranged from the purchase of an important 75-acre freshwater marsh on the Connecticut River in Portland to tidal wetland restoration projects in Old Saybrook.

One major project just completed in 2002 was a 300-acre restoration project at the Roger Tory Peterson Wildlife Area at Great Island, located at the mouth of the Connecticut River. The invasive plant, phragmites, was removed from over 200 acres of the marsh by herbiciding and mulching. The specialized machine that "mulched" the phragmites was one of the first purchases made with Duck Stamp funds. In addition to phragmites control, several ponds were created and many ditches were plugged. These plugged ditches will result in shallow water areas that are used by waterfowl and wading birds for feeding. The end result of this project will be a marsh that provides much improved habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Collectors Sales Have Declined
Duck Stamp revenues have been an important source of funds used for wetland restoration. In the early years of the Connecticut program, many people were interested in Duck Stamp artwork and purchased prints and "collector" stamps. Sales of Duck Stamp related artwork generated substantial funds. However, as expected, sales have declined over time. In recent years, very few prints and collector stamps have been sold. In fact, the cost of producing the artistic stamp and print now exceeds the funds raised from their sale. As a result, 2002 will be the last year that Connecticut will publish Duck Stamp prints and artistic stamps. In coming years, waterfowl hunters will still be legally required to purchase a stamp, but it will be a simple stamp (similar to the pheasant stamp). Sales of stamps to waterfowl hunters should continue to generate $30,000 or more annually that will be used for wetland conservation.