Waterfowl habitat conservation is moving closer to keeping pace with the skyrocketing land values of the past several years today, as the House Natural Resources Committee passed the Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act, sending the bill to the House floor.

“This is an important step for conservation,” said Scott Sutherland, Director of Governmental Affairs for Ducks Unlimited. “The diminished buying power of the duck stamp is hamstringing the efforts of millions of conservationists that are investing in the program to protect waterfowl habitat.”

Since being set at its current price of $15 in 1991, the purchasing power of the stamp has severely hampered the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's ability to purchase land with the funds raised by stamp.

Under the new bill, the price of the stamp would be raised to $25 after July 2010. More than 1.5 million people purchase duck stamps each year, and over 95% of them are waterfowlers. Stamp collectors, as well as other bird and wildlife enthusiasts also purchase the stamps, either for their own collections or for the free access to National Wildlife Refuges that the stamp allows.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization and has conserved more than 12 million acres. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands − nature's most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres important to waterfowl each year.