The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program was initiated in the early 1990s when concerned sportsmen worked with the DEEP to develop legislation that would generate revenue for wetland conservation. Modeled after the federal Duck Stamp Program, the Connecticut program requires the purchase of a state Duck Stamp, along with a hunting license, to legally hunt waterfowl in the state. By state law, funds generated from the sale of Duck Stamps can only be used for the development, management, preservation, conservation, acquisition, purchase, and maintenance of waterfowl habitat and wetlands, as well as the purchase and acquisition of recreational rights or interests relating to migratory birds.
The early state Duck Stamps featured waterfowl art from artists across North America. However, since 2003, the stamp has featured designs from local artists. In an effort to generate more interest in the Duck Stamp Program, with the goal of increasing stamp sales and revenues to improve wetland conservation, the DEEP is returning to the more appealing full-color format for stamps and holding a contest to select the artwork for the stamp. Art enthusiasts, stamp collectors, and conservationists can purchase as many stamps as they wish. Full-color prints may also be available at the discretion of the winning artist.
The first Connecticut Duck Stamp debuted in 1993 with a fee of $5.00. From 1993-2002, the sale of Duck Stamps and prints generated over $1.2 million in revenue. Print sales gradually declined over time and the print program was discontinued with the 2002 Duck Stamp. In order to maintain revenue for growing habitat conservation needs, the cost of the Connecticut stamp was increased to $10 in 2005 and $13 in 2010. Surveys conducted by the DEEP indicated that the majority of waterfowl hunters were behind increased stamp fees. Hunters and conservationists have consistently expressed strong support for the Duck Stamp Program and associated conservation projects. The sale of stamps alone currently generates approximately $50,000 per year.
- Over 3,145 acres of wetlands have been restored or enhanced. Projects have encompassed nearly 50 sites, mostly on state-owned wildlife management areas. In 2011, two more projects, one in Tolland and another in Haddam, were completed using Duck Stamp funds.
- Specialized large equipment was purchased to conduct extensive marsh restoration work, particularly along the coast.
- A 75-acre addition to the Wangunk Meadows Wildlife Management Area in Portland was purchased.
- Duck Stamp funds have generated additional monies for Connecticut through matching grants from federal conservation initiatives. By combining Duck Stamp funds with these additional monies, over $4 million have been available to complete wildlife conservation projects. Thus, Connecticut has received a 4:1 return on Duck Stamp monies.
- The wetland restoration work funded by Duck Stamps has benefitted many wildlife species, including several designated as species of greatest conservation need in Connecticut’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.
- The Duck Stamp Program is a prime example of a user fee program that has greatly benefitted not only wildlife, but also the people of Connecticut by improving the health of our local environments.
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Young Connecticut artists have an opportunity to submit their artwork of a waterfowl species in the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp competition sponsored by the Connecticut Waterfowlers Association
(CWA). Students are judged in four groups according to grade level. Three first, second, and third place entries are selected for each group. A “Best of Show” is selected by the judges from the 12 first-place winners. The “Best of Show” is then entered into the national Junior Duck Stamp Contest. The first place design from the national contest is used to create a Junior Duck Stamp for the following year. Junior Duck Stamps are sold by the U.S. Postal Service for $5 each. Proceeds support conservation education and provide awards and scholarships for the students, teachers, and schools that participate in the program.
The deadline for submitting artwork for the 2013 Junior Duck Stamp Competition has passed. Details to come on the next competition. Questions and artwork should be submitted to Connecticut Waterfowlers Association, c/o Chris Samor, 29 Bower Hill Rd., Oxford, CT 06478.
Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Artist Placed Second in the 2012 National Competition
An original painting of a drake wood duck by Avon High School senior Matthew Messina, of Avon, was chosen as Best of Show in the 2012 Connecticut Duck Stamp competition. Matthew’s painting was sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to compete in the national 2012 Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest, and it was awarded with second place.
Content last updated on May 8, 2013.