Ducks Unlimited, Partners Surpass Wetlands Conservation Milestone

Ducks Unlimited, Partners Surpass Wetlands Conservation Milestone

For the first time in its 87-year history, Ducks Unlimited has delivered 1 million acres of conservation across North America in one year thanks to more than a million supporters and partners including private landowners, hunters, corporations, major donors, state and federal agencies.

This achievement happened in fiscal year 2024 and reflects a national surge in public and private interest to restore and protect wetland habitats.

One million acres of conservation – about the area of Rhode Island – includes long-term and permanent projects, such as conservation restorations and easements, and short-term or annual efforts, such as agricultural cover crop programs, as well as both new and revisited project sites.

The announcement was made during Ducks Unlimited’s 87th National Convention in San Diego, California.

Since its founding, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 18 million acres.

“One million acres of tangible conservation in one year is an achievement that’s nearly 90 years in the making,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “This is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff and volunteers following years of exponential conservation growth. We don’t just advocate for wetlands – our mission moves dirt. Ducks see it. Communities see it. Partners see it. Each acre represents in-the-field success. Combined with our most ambitious comprehensive campaign in history, Conservation For a Continent, DU members and supporters are more motivated than ever before to make an impact on the wetlands and waterfowl we love.”

The historic international fundraising campaign, “Conservation For a Continent. Our Wetlands. Our Legacy.” aims to raise $3 billion by 2026 to provide cleaner water for communities and wildlife. One of the largest fundraising efforts launched in North America devoted to landscape conservation and the future of our outdoors heritage, the campaign recently surpassed the $2 billion mark with two years remaining.

Also announced during convention was the largest-ever gift to Ducks Unlimited. Alex Taylor, CEO and Chairman Cox Enterprises announced a $100 million gift to support conservation in honor of Jim Kennedy, chairman emeritus of Cox Enterprises and chairman of the James M. Cox Foundation. The gift will help support protection and restoration efforts of North America’s Prairie Pothole Region. Jim Kennedy is DU’s largest supporter, has been a volunteer with Ducks Unlimited for over 50 years, has served on its board of directors and was Wetlands America Trust’s founding president. The gift directly supports the continental campaign and prepares DU to conserve millions more acres of habitat.

“Wetlands provide many services to our communities, including flood storage, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, enhanced fish habitat and more,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Dr. Karen Waldrop. “But we can’t do this alone. The unprecedented success during FY24 is because of DU’s industry-leading partnerships with state and federal agencies, private corporations, farmers and individual donors.”

Ducks Unlimited got its start during the Dust Bowl when North America’s drought-plagued waterfowl populations had plunged to unprecedented lows. Determined not to sit idly by as the continent’s waterfowl dwindled beyond recovery, a small group of waterfowl hunters joined together to form an organization that became known as Ducks Unlimited. Our mission: habitat conservation.

Thanks to decades of abiding by that single mission, Ducks Unlimited is now the world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization. Its conservation work improves biodiversity, cleans water and protects communities from flooding and coastal erosion and provides a landscape for hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts.

What conservation looks like:

For more information about DU’s continuing wetlands conservation work across North America, visit

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing wetlands and grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 18 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent comprehensive campaign. Learn more at