Continuing a strong Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program and increasing the Waterfowl Stamp fee are important wetland priorities up for consideration in the 2021-23 state budget. Conservation partners like Gathering Waters, Ducks Unlimited, Wisconsin Waterfowl, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and other wildlife conservation groups are leading campaigns to advocate for these programs at the State Capitol.

The Stewardship Program is often used to purchase land or easements on wetlands and riparian areas, yielding public access and recreational opportunities, improved habitat, and many ecological services. The Valuing Wetlands report produced by Gathering Waters indicates the state has conserved about 165,000 wetland-associated acres since the program started.

Governor Evers included 10-year reauthorization and an annual allocation of $70 million for the Stewardship Program in his budget proposal. However, the budget process is far from over because over the next several months the Legislature will also exercise its role in crafting the state budget. If the Stewardship Program is important to you, visit to share your support with policy-makers.

Another item for being considered by the State Legislature is raising the cost of the Waterfowl Stamp from $7.00 to $12.00. The price of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp has not been raised for 23 years, taking a toll on the impact and reach of these dollars for on-the-ground restoration. A $5.00 increase in the Waterfowl Stamp will generate an estimated $369,300 annually for wetland habitat conservation in our state, not including the extensive matching funds put forth by nonprofits and other programs to complete restoration projects.

The restoration realized through Waterfowl Stamp revenue is good for waterfowl, other wildlife, and improved wetland functions like better flood resiliency, water quality, and connectivity also get a boost through these projects.

To share your support for the Stewardship Program and Waterfowl Stamp in one message, visit

Also consider sharing your comments with us! Email our Policy Liaison, Jennifer Western Hauser, at