How the Alabama Waterfowl Association Works

Mallard duck landing in pond.
Mallard duck landing in pond.
Geoff du Feu/Riser/Getty Images

The Alabama Waterfowl Asso­ciation (AWA) -- one of several waterfowl associations found across the United States -- is dedicated to increasing waterfowl populations, natural wetland and upland waterways.

Since its founding, the AWA has instituted many different programs dedicated to waterfowl, including the following:

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  • Conservation Habitat Seed Program: The AWA subsidizes individuals, farmers and wildlife conservation managers through a surplus seed program. Seeds for food plots can be purchased at deeply discounted prices.
  • Mallard restoration project: Each year, the AWA releases banded mallards into the wild. Hunters are asked that when they harvest a mallard, they report the bird's band information back to the AWA for tracking and information-gathering purposes.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) watershed restoration and conservation: These EPA programs increase waterfowl habitats and restore vital wetlands and uplands to pre-polluted states. This benefits not only waterfowl but all habitats along the Tennessee River Valley in Alabama.

­As part of its Kids in Waterfowling and Conservation program, the AWA promotes the building and placement of wood duck nesting boxes. The plans can be downloaded from the Web site, along with instructions and a materials list [source: AWA]. The AWA works with youth groups around Alabama to place and maintain the boxes.

The AWA has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of land to the Alabama public land use program and waterfowl managers. What else has the AWA done since its founding?

History of the Alabama Waterfowl Association

The Alabama Waterfowl Association (AWA) has been involved with some of th­e most recognized conservation programs in the state of Alabama. In 1999, the AWA was given the Governors Award for Conservation Organization of the Year. Since that time, the organization has continued to grow and use public and private donations to further its work in wetland restoration, conservation and waterfowl protection [source: AWA].

For example, for one project, AWA CEO Jerry Davis joined up with the director of the Alabama Indian Affairs Committee. The two researched and obtained historical documentation to pass legislation that would add the following to the National Park Service National Historic Trails brochure: the Alabama Trail of Tears Corridor of North America connecting Ross' Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Waterloo, Alabama [source: AWA].

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The AWA has also:

  • Worked on and supported conservation language drafted into the 1996 Farm Bill.
  • Worked to restore the Bald Cypress tree back into Alabama by planting over 1,500 new cypress trees.
  • Created and placed Wood Duck nesting boxes and works with groups to create additional Wood Duck habitats.
  • Banded and released more than 35,000 mallards.
  • Created a 37-acre (15-hectare) wetland habitat to be used as an educational area and youth hunting and training area.
  • Relocated more than 2,500 Canadian Geese.
  • Distributed food plot seed in Alabama and across the nation.
  • Worked with legislature to pass the January 31 framework, which extends the hunting season in southern states to the end of January [source: AWA].

Every organization usually has goals and a mission. Let's find out what drives the AWA.

Mission of the Alabama Waterfowl Association

The Ala­bama Waterfowl Association's (AWA) aim is to replenish waterfowl populations. It accomplishes this through various activities, programs and projects aimed at enhancing or maintaining Alabama's resources.

­According to the AWA, the association acts as a "a state voice" for Alabama waterfowl hunting, concerning the hunting season and the federal migratory bird regulations that affect the state. It networks with other state waterfowl associations, which are all a part of the North American Waterfowl Federation (NAWF), to benefit wetland conservation. It also works with private landowners, farmers, industry, hunting clubs, state and federal agencies -- all to help to conserve and enhance Alabama's watersheds, coastal regions, wetland functions and waterfowl resources [source: AWA].

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Jerry Davis, CEO of the AWA, has won many grants that have brought necessary financial support to Alabama's conservation programs. Some of these grants include:

  • $250,000 -- Tennessee Valley Authority "Environmental Initiative Grant" for Phillip's Project at Mud Creek in Jackson County
  • $62,000 -- Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Department of Transportation Grant for the Recreational Trails Program Sacred Tears Monument at Spring Park in Tuscumbia, Alabama
  • $35,000 -- National Fish and Wildlife Grant for a wetlands project in Marshall County
  • $5,000 -- Legacy Grant Reintroduction of the Bald Cypress Tree into the Tennessee Valley of Alabama [source: AWA]

The AWA is one of many waterfowl associations located across the United States. If you're considering joining the AWA, whether you're a resident of Alabama or not, read on.

Joining the Alabama Waterfowl Association

The Alabama Waterfowl Association (AWA) is a nonprofit organization supported by 25 volunteers and 845 members [source: EPA]. Joining the AWA is easy, ­and Alabama state residence is not required. Membership rates are based on the following different types of membership:

  • Kids in Waterfowling and Conservation (KWAC)
  • Regular Membership
  • Marsh Sponsor
  • Corporate/Foundation Sponsor

Memberships range from $10 to $1,000. Every member pledge receives an AWA decal and quarterly AWA Report. Membership fees are considered tax-deductible contributions and are used by the association to further its work of restoring North American waterfowl populations. Projects like the Mud Creek Watershed Restoration Project show how the AWA is working to restore wetland and upland properties to healthy conditions [source: AWA].

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­Alabama has lost more than half of its original wetland areas, and restoration projects such as the Mud Creek Watershed Restoration Project aid the AWA in returning wetland functions to the region. By restoring the natural functionality of wetlands, these lands have the capability of filtering runoff, which results in improved water quality and increased wildlife and waterfowl habituation [source: AWA].

The AWA tries to do more than maintain natural resources; it helps to provide much needed habitat areas, to recognize and celebrate the historical and cultural events that helped shaped Alabama and volunteers its services and resources in multiple ways.

For more information on hunting, visit the links on the next page.

Re­lated H­owStuffWorks Articles

Sources:

  • The Alabama Waterfowl Association. (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.alabamawaterfowl.org/
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Adopt your Watershed." (Accessed 12/01/08) http://yosemite.epa.gov/water%5Cadopt.nsf/by+State/6869567DEA2F8BC1852566DD00520FEE?OpenDocument

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