Ducks Unlimited holds banquet to help wildlife

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As the Colorado waterfowl season shifts into high gear with lower temperatures and ducks start to make their way south, there is a way for sportsmen and conservationists to help the ducks and Colorado wetlands while having a night on the town.

The Craig Chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU) is holding its annual banquet Saturday at the Holiday Inn. Cocktail hour will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. with the auction at 7 p.m.

The Craig DU chapter is unique because 99 percent of the money that it raises at the banquet and through fund-raising projects stays in Colorado. DU is helping with critical projects in Colorado. One of these is in Moffat County. The Yampa/White River Focus Area lies within the heart of Moffat County. These focus areas start at the grass roots level with conservation-minded individuals, local governments and other non-profit organizations. Biologists have identified the area as one of the most important habitat projects in Colorado. This project will restore natural hydrology to once productive marshes, enhance wetlands that have been degraded and protect pristine habitats for future generations.

These wetlands do not only help the duck population in Colorado but the wetlands are also critical habitat for many other Colorado animals.

DU proposes to restore 6,000 acres of wetlands, enhance 5,000 acres of uplands and protect through conservation easement at least 3,000 acres of waterfowl habitat in Colorado. To date DU has spent $2,435,548 on projects in Colorado and has completed 125 different projects in the state.

Last year, nationwide, DU raised a record $118 million, shattering the previous record by $15 million. This allowed the conservation group to conserve more than 500,000 acres last year of critical habitat throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Dr. Allan Reishus helped to start the Craig chapter of DU 19 years ago. Since that time he estimates the chapter has raised more than $100,000 for wetlands conservation. He believes the banquet is a great time that helps benefit all of Colorado wildlife.

"DU isn't just for duck hunters," said Reishus. "It is for anyone who enjoys wildlife, open space and the outdoors. The organization helps to benefit hundreds of different species of wildlife especially migratory wildlife. The dinner is always a great time. We have plenty of great auction items and prizes. It is a good way to enjoy a Saturday night and help wildlife."

As usual, the Craig DU banquet will have both silent and live auctions, raffles and games that will be a way to obtain DU merchandise, art and hunting gear, including shotguns and wildlife prints.

The banquet should be a great way to bond with a hunting buddy or a family member. Bring some bucks and help the ducks. Tickets are available at the door or at Craig Sports.

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