“Everybody says, ‘go to the lake and buy a cottage,’ but we don’t have to” said Marlin Firby, a mixed farmer and long-time resident of the Minnedosa area. It isn’t necessary because there is a small lake right outside the window of their home that will never be drained.
The Firbys appreciate seeing the birds and other wildlife and have made sure that the wildlife will always have a home by signing a conservation agreement (CA) with MHHC. They see everything from ducks to great blue heron along the shoreline of their wetlands.
According to Marlin, at one time this area had more ducks than it does today. Protecting the potholes and sloughs for duck habitat was an important reason for the Firbys to enter into a CA.
While the MHHC is the conservation agency holding the CA, this project was funded through a partnership with Delta Waterfowl Foundation. Delta provides U.S. funds to MHHC for conservation agreements which they get from hunters/conservationists in various U.S. States. These funds allow MHHC to access additional resources from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service through the North American Wetland Conservation Act.
“The Firby CA is directly linked to the Illinois Duck Stamp Fund,” said Jim Fisher, Delta’s Director of Conservation Policy. Every time a hunter purchases a license in Illinois it includes a waterfowl stamp. A portion of those duck stamp fees was used for this Agreement. “This is another example of how hunters are giving back to waterfowl conservation,” said Fisher.
-Adapted from an article in The Minnedosa Tribune