Waterfowl photo

The Squaw Creek Chapter of Delta Waterfowl will be hosting their inaugural banquet this Saturday in St. Joseph. Its mission is to support conservation leaders and provide knowledge of science-based solutions that efficiently conserve waterfowl and secure the future of duck hunting.

The Squaw Creek Chapter of Delta Waterfowl will be hosting their inaugural banquet this Saturday in St. Joseph.

Fred Ramsay, chairperson, said Delta Waterfowl traces its roots as a premiere waterfowl conservation organization to 1911.

The nonprofit organization operates in both Canada and in the United States. Its mission is to support conservation leaders and provide knowledge of science-based solutions that efficiently conserve waterfowl and secure the future of waterfowl hunting.

James Ford Bell of General Mills Corporation is regarded as the founder of Delta Waterfowl. In the early 1900s, Bell was concerned about duck populations, particularly canvasbacks. He began to put two ducks back for each one shot by hunters at his club on Manitoba’s famed Delta Marsh in Canada.

Bell brought Aldo Leopold — known as the father of modern game management — to Delta Marsh and hatched the idea of a waterfowl research facility.

Leopold, after graduating from the Yale Forest School in 1909, pursued a career with the newly established U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico.

By age 24, he had been promoted to the post of supervisor for the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. And in 1922, he was instrumental in developing the proposal to manage the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area. It became the country’s first official wilderness area in 1924.

After moving to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1924, Leopold continued to investigate ecology and wildlife conservation. In 1933 he published the first textbook in the field of wildlife management. Later that year, he accepted a new chair position in game management which was a first for the University of Wisconsin and the country.

In 1938, Hans Albert Hochbaum, who studied under Leopold at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, became Delta Waterfowl’s first scientific director. Hochbaum and his early Delta colleagues pioneered the study of breeding duck ecology and made key discoveries on habitat use and behavior.

Today, Delta Waterfowl supports graduate research on waterfowl along with other programs focused on bird populations and waterfowl hunting in North America.

The organization has its U.S. Headquarters in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Delta Waterfowl is currently leading the way in a Hen House project as a cost-effective tool to increase mallard production. The hen houses are used at targeted areas of the highest mallard breeding density. Results have shown the hen houses consistently boost nest success to more than 60 percent and commonly to 80 percent in areas where ground-nesting mallards typically achieve nest success of less than 10 percent.

Ramsay said a group of volunteers in Northwest Missouri have started a chapter in St. Joseph.

The fundraising banquet this month in St. Joseph will have a silent and live auction.

“They are a great organization with a lot of volunteers,” Ramsay said. “Since this is our inaugural banquet, we’ve been given many items to auction and offer at the banquet.”

VanZinos BBQ in St. Joseph will cater dinner at the banquet.

The doors open for the banquet at 5 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. on August 17. The event will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall located at 1205 N. 49th Terrace in St. Joseph. The cost of the youth ticket is $20, the single ticket is $45 and the couples ticket is $70.

For more information on the chapter, contact Ramsay by email at ramsay4@stjoelive.com.