Four of our largest wild bird conservation organizations—Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever—have signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU). According to a media release, the agreement was reached "with the goal of furthering sporting traditions across North America."
"By entering into this unique partnership, we will be able to reach more than 1 million conservation supporters throughout North America," said DU CEO Dale Hall. "This MOU is the first step to ensuring our hunting heritage remains strong. I look forward to working with each organization and I know that together we can accomplish great things."
Certainly these groups share similar missions, albeit with a focus on conserving different birds. There is of course much overlap in the needs of turkeys, ducks and upland birds. Some of the most obvious common goals of the groups include a strong Conservation Reserve Program and preservation of dwindling prairie grass habitat--both of which are particularly essential to the survival of upland birds and nesting success of waterfowl.
It will be interesting to see exactly what the MOU means: How will the groups work together to benefit a variety of wildlife, and just what impact will the conglomeration have? According to organization data, the four groups have helped preserve a combined 30 million acres of wildlife habitat. Increased efficiency in this regard would be a welcome development.
In any event, from a symbolic standpoint I appreciate the gesture of these organizations. Too often there's a perception that conservation groups are competing with one another for membership dues. The MOU, rather, is a nod in favor of the notion that they can work together when the fate of North American wildlife and hunting traditions are on the line. Let's hope that in practice the pooled resources of DU, PF, QF and NWTF strengthen these efforts.