Minnesotans have long recognized the importance of their state for both production and migration habitat for waterfowl. For years, a group of Waterfowler supporters from Albert Lea watched may local marshes disappear and the remaining ones deteriorate. In 1967, they pulled together their resources and formed the base for what was to become the Minnesota Waterfowl Association (MWA). These founders lead the way with the battle cry "Save the Game Lakes". These 2,000 "game" lakes in Minnesota are shallow lakes that provide important migrational stopping points, both in the spring and fall. These Game Lakes are highly productive to waterfowl and other creatures that use them.
This statewide nonprofit organization is dedicated to the preservation, creation and restoration of wildlife habitat in Minnesota. The MWA, through proceeds from memberships, fund-raisers and donations, has benefited wildlife for more than 40 years.
In 1977, MWA was successful in initiating and passing the Minnesota State waterfowl Stamp program. Money from the sale of the stamp is earmarked for the enhancement of waterfowl lakes. In recognition of the association's, the first stamp featured MWA's logo designed by acclaimed wildlife artist David A Maass. Sales of the Minnesota Waterfowl Stamp have raised nearly $6 million for wildlife preservation in the decade.
MWA members tackle the job to creating upland nesting cover and restoring wetland complexes where they no longer exist. The MWA has completed and participated in more than 600 wetland restoration projects in more than 50 Minnesota counties. Dollars raised in our state stay in our state.
Our projects not only benefit waterfowl; more non-game species benefit from species benefit from quality wetlands than those few species that are hunted. It has been documented that more than 580 species of wildlife, including some birds and fur-bearing animals, are major users of our wetland complexes. Our many projects positively affect the quality of water we drink, provide natural filters for our rivers and streams, and provide flood control. Their many positive benefits extend far beyond those for waterfowl alone.
The passage of the Minnesota Wetlands Heritage Act of 1991 was a major step in the right direction in providing protection and restoration of Minnesota's remaining wetlands. MWA's legislative efforts were vital to the confirmation of what looks to be the finest wetlands protection law in the country.
A strong commitment on the legislative front both statewide and nationally sets MWA's activities apart from other waterfowl associations. The MWA long ago realized that restoration projects alone will not solve the waterfowl population problem, or keep up with wetland losses. At MWA, No-Net Loss is much more than a slick phrase. It's our priority goal for Minnesota's wetlands...a path from which we will not stray.