Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sometimes Love Is Taxing

The lake where these ibis reside, the same lake where the sandhills strut, is wild today because of well spent tax dollars.
Were it not so, the trees would be gone, and tiny lots with big houses would surround the lake.

Some of these well spent taxes were chipped in by all, but much of the money comes from hunters and fisherfolk who pay extra taxes on ammo and fishing gear.

My header says that I don't just admire nature I participate. There's lots of ways I do that, but part of my participation is consumptive use.
I've hunted, don't now, but could restart at any time.
I fish (not often enough) and it's not all catch and release.
For every consumptive use, there's a license or permit that is used to support wildlife. I grumble as I pay the license fees, but in my heart, I know it's a good thing. There's the freshwater license fee, the saltwater license fee, hunting license fee, wildlife management area permit fee, snook fee, tarpon fee, lobster fee, and the grandaddy of all conservation fees ... the Federal Duck Stamp.

Just the Federal Duck Stamp alone has contributed over $700 million and protected over 5 million acres of wetland habitat since 1934. (Thank you Ding)

Florida has benefited immensely from duck stamp purchases. Go to that link, find your state, and see how this amazing program works for you.
Ninety eight cents of every dollar spent on duck stamps goes directly to habitat preservation.

You can be vigorously antihunting and still purchase duck stamps to protect habitat ... and you should.

Can you think of any government program that approaches that level of financial efficiency?

In fact, I would go so far as to say none of the private organizations ... not even my beloved Nature Conservancy gang can match that, although at 88% efficiency (woohoo!) they are pretty amazing for a large conservation organization.

You can send them all of your money here. The Nature Conservancy will spend some of it internationally though, which is not bad of course, but buying a Federal Duck Stamp too will ensure some bit of American wetland gets protected.

I still quiver and whine like a Labrador Retriever in a duck blind when a flock of ducks fly over me in a cold winter marsh.
If it's taxes that allow me that thrill, then that's a price I'll pay ...
with a minimum of grumbling.


threecollie said...

Great link to the duck stamp program. I was amazed to see that most of the Montezuma wildlife refuge is paid for by the stamp. (Of course when I asked if anyone else here knew how it was funded Alan did. )
We love Montezuma. It is hard to get out there and get back for milking but it is worth it when we do. In one trip through several years ago I saw at least five life birds. Another time there were literally thousands of snow geese everywhere. Just unimaginable numbers.

Scott aka Florida Native Musings said...

Great post. I have been Buying Duck Stamps since college.

BTW I got a great surprise in the mail yesterday, somebody with a Postmark called "FC" sent me what I think is some Datil Pepper seeds. Thanks Buddy. Now How do I grow them?

Yours in the Bond.

Kimberlee said...

Great information and even greater glimpse into the bigger picture of the conservation issue. I grew up with hunters/fishermen both in my family and community and, you're right, no one supports wildlife or habitat more. Thanks for making the point. I've never even considered buying a duck stamp, but it's something I'll look into now. :)

robin andrea said...

I'll have to go and buy duck stamps. I hadn't ever thought of it, but what a great way to contribute. Nice duck shot, and great post below about those cranes. Beautiful photographs.

Deb said...

I totally agree, non hunters should purchase duck stamps. Up here near the Prairie Pothole country, where I forget what percentage of wetlands have been drained, although it's rather horrific nonetheless, money for habitat is crucial. Even more so, now that we're on this shortsighted ethanol-from-corn binge.

Floridacracker said...

I'd like to see those geese. I saw a few small flocks at Lake Woodruff NWR once and they were wonderful.

Break open those dried pepper pods and plant the seeds like you would any pepper seed. Keep them inside this time of year or the cold will get them.

Thanks. Few donations are as effective as the duck stamp. I wish I had kept my first duck stamps from my teen duck hunting years ... they might be valuable collectors items now.

Imagine if every bird lover bought a duck stamp every year. Thanks for considering it. Glad you liked the big birds!

Good point. Farmers will be feeling the economic pressure to plant fencerow to fencerow again.
I've only seen photos of the prairie pothole country, it was beautiful.

Cathy S. said...

I echo others sentiments that I never thought to buy a duck stamp since I do not hunt birds with a gun, only my eyes. Will have to rethink that opinion! Thanks for provoking me to new ways of thought as always.

Floridacracker said...

Cathy S,
Thanks for considering the duckstamp.
It might be that the FWS needs to promote the duckstamp to a broader audience than the traditional guy and his labrador.

SophieMae said...

I buy a duck stamp each year instead of the annual refuge pass.

Your sandhill snaps are superb! Sure hope I see some next time I'm down home.

And those cakes and ribs!!! It'll be no time at all before I gain back the 6-8 lbs I lost while I was sick. LOL!

pablo said...

Just about every hunter I've ever talked to has acknowledged the work on conservation groups, both public and private, that do. Most have gladly paid their taxes for the recognized benefit.

The Nature Conservancy is the first one to get my contribution each year. Been a member for more than 20 years.

Floridacracker said...

We're just glad you are well again.
I'm kind of glad the holiday feasting season is over.
Glad you liked the sandhills, ... that lake is on your way if you meander down 41 on the way to Tarpon.

You couldn't send your $$ to a nicer bunch of people than the NC. They have helped preserve so many areas here. You see their work everywhere.

Laura said...

I'm going to have to check my browser settings. I was here last night, and this post didn't show up. It was still fixed on the Jimmy Neutron post! I think I'll have to start clicking "refresh" more often. On the flip side, I'll get to read 2 of your posts at the same time this morning.
And I'll definitely start buying the duck stamps. I'd never heard of the program at all. Thanks for this tip!

The Troll said...

Nature Conservancy: Bankrupts middle-class landowners with nuisance lawsuits. Forces them to sell their land at 20% of value under the guise of "preserving it for future generations".

Then sells that land (for 10% of former value) to loathesome entertainer David Letterman who builds a McMansion complete with heli-pad, 12 car garage, and 3 speedboat dock.

Net result: More pollution and more noise than the rightful owners original plan to build 3 modest Cottages for decent hard-working folks to retire peacefully within.

Find a new favorite "charity" dude. Not sure if the MAFIA qualifies, but their tactics are less grotesque.

Floridacracker said...

Hmmmm, and I can't comment on your site anymore at work. I left a great comment there today and it vanished.

No fair picking ONE Nature Conservancy screw up/cronyism deal and condemning the whole excellent organization for the misdeeds of some higher ups. The NC took their lumps for that faux pas.
The NC doesn't "force" anyone to sell ... that power is left to government ... from cities to Uncle... and THEY often do force regular folks out for the benefit of the rich developer. That's where your fire should be directed, not at an agency that steps in and buys environmentally sensitive lands when the state can't afford to do so.

In this Suwannee valley area I could take you around and point out multiple parks and preserves that were rescued by the NC when the state didn't have the budget. When the state funds finally are freed, the NC transferred the land. In the meantime, the developers were stopped and the land was saved for posterity.
That happens over and over again around the country thanks to the Nature Consevancy.
You can't go delay, you can't go back after the developers get their hands on it. The Nature Conservancy is legal direct action at it's best.
Buy it, save it.
No need to change my favorite charity dude. This one works just fine.