Waterfowl, wetlands and hunting can thrive in California only when we work to ensure that regulations, policies and laws are helpful, or at the very least don’t get in the way.

That’s why California Waterfowl has an advocacy team that works at all levels of government, seeking science-based regulations and bipartisan solutions, and working hand in hand with partner conservation and hunting organizations. We can’t take the future of waterfowl for granted.

And we advocate for hunting, not just habitat, because hunters are the driving force for wetland conservation in California. Conservation ensures that our hunting is sustainable, and a strong population of waterfowl hunters ensures that wetland conservation continues year after year.

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What we advocate for

Photo shows an unflooded wetland.

For habitat

• Adequate water supplies for wetlands, particularly during winter when millions of migratory birds descend upon the state
• Policies that promote breeding habitat for California’s resident waterfowl
• Regulations that ensure duck clubs aren’t required to take actions detrimental to waterfowl

For hunting

• Science-based regulations that maximize opportunities for hunter participation
• Laws that don’t unnecessarily restrict hunter access to hunting land or water
• Laws that don’t unnecessarily restrict hunters’ ability to acquire and use firearms for hunting

See current issues here.

WHERE WE DO ADVOCACY

Regulatory agencies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sets frameworks for hunting in each of the nation’s four flyways, with input from its Flyway Councils, and each state then sets detailed regulations, which can be more restrictive than the federal frameworks, but not more permissive.

With guidance from CWA’s Regulations and Traditions Committee, California Waterfowl participates in the process at all levels — federal, flyway and state — advocating for waterfowl’s and our members’ interest at any appropriate stage of the process.

Expanded eligibility for reduced-cost youth licenses and early fall and spring goose seasons in California have both come about because California Waterfowl advocated for them.

See all regulatory issues here.

Legislative bodies

Both the California Legislature and Congress can pass laws that affect waterfowl, wetlands and hunting, so we monitor both bodies and step in when necessary.

Sometimes we advocate for or against specific bills, but there is a third solution that’s critically important in California’s political climate: amending legislation to reduce burdens on hunters or negative impacts on waterfowl and wetlands.

One example is a newer requirement for Californians to pass a safety test before purchasing a long gun (shotgun or rifle): We’re all for safety, but hunters already have to pass a safety exam to get their hunting licenses. Thanks to California Waterfowl’s input, hunters are exempt from the test requirement when they show their license.

See all legislative issues here.

Other arenas

From time to time, issues arise at the local government level or in state or federal agencies, and we send our team to those venues as well.

See all current issues here.

WE CAN’T DO IT ALONE

While we have an outstanding advocacy team, it’s vital for our supporters to be involved in our efforts: Our team has the most clout when lawmakers understand that we speak for a great many of their constituents.

You can make your presence felt in the halls of power by signing up for action alerts, participating in our advisory committees, or making a donation to support our advocacy efforts.

We also have a related organization—the California Waterfowl Legislative Action Fund—that helps enhance our lobbying and education efforts, and increase our effectiveness in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. It is a separate 501c4 organization.

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