Proposed Legislation Seeks to Revolutionize Waterfowl Conservation: The HEN Act


In a landmark move towards revolutionizing waterfowl conservation efforts, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress, aiming to allocate a substantial annual budget of $3 million. The purpose of this financial infusion is to enhance duck production in the prairie pothole region, primarily focusing on the installation and maintenance of hen houses. 

Additionally, the bill seeks to develop crucial nesting and brood habitats in the state of California. This groundbreaking legislation, officially designated as H.R. 6854 and aptly named the “Habitat Enhancement Now” or HEN Act, has garnered support from key representatives, including Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), and Rep. Douglas LaMalfa (R-Calif.).

The HEN Act represents a concerted effort to address the critical need for comprehensive waterfowl conservation strategies. Led by a bipartisan coalition, this legislation recognizes the urgency of bolstering duck production and fostering the well-being of vital habitats. The bill’s introduction aligns with a broader commitment to preserving and enhancing the natural ecosystems that support waterfowl populations.

The introduction of the HEN Act is a testament to the foresight and commitment of Congressional leaders, particularly Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach, Congressman Mike Thompson, and Congressman Douglas LaMalfa. Their collaborative efforts signal a bipartisan understanding of the importance of investing in initiatives that can significantly amplify duck production. The HEN Act, if enacted, could prove instrumental in addressing existing challenges faced by waterfowl, particularly in regions where nest success and brood habitat are identified as limiting factors.

Dr. Scott Petrie, the Chief Executive Officer of Delta Waterfowl, a leading organization in waterfowl research and conservation, has expressed sincere appreciation for the proactive leadership demonstrated by Congresswoman Fischbach, Congressman Thompson, and Congressman LaMalfa. Delta Waterfowl, known for its commitment to evidence-based conservation practices, emphasizes that scientific research has underscored the efficacy of hen house nesting structures.

According to Delta Waterfowl’s research findings, the installation and maintenance of hen house nesting structures present a cost-effective approach to increasing mallard nest success. By strategically placing these structures, the bill aims to mitigate the risks posed by mammalian nest predators, providing a secure environment for hens and their clutches of eggs. This evidence-based approach reflects a nuanced understanding of the ecological challenges faced by waterfowl, particularly in the prairie pothole region.

The prairie pothole region, characterized by its unique topography of wetlands and shallow lakes, is a critical breeding ground for waterfowl. However, research has indicated that nest success in this region often falls below desired levels. The HEN Act, by allocating funds to enhance duck production in this specific habitat, endeavors to reverse this trend. The installation of hen houses is poised to be a game-changer, providing a practical solution to the challenges faced by waterfowl during the nesting phase.

Beyond the prairie pothole region, the HEN Act also addresses the limitations in brood habitat in California. This state-specific approach recognizes the diverse ecosystems that support waterfowl populations. By investing in the development of nesting and brood habitat in California, the legislation aims to create a more comprehensive conservation strategy that aligns with the specific needs of the region.

The collaborative efforts behind the HEN Act underscore the significance of a united front in conservation endeavors. Waterfowl, as a migratory and widely distributed group of birds, require coordinated and multifaceted conservation strategies. The HEN Act serves as a blueprint for future initiatives, demonstrating the potential impact of bipartisan collaboration in addressing complex ecological challenges.

As the HEN Act navigates through the legislative process, its proponents envision a future where waterfowl populations thrive, and the delicate balance of ecosystems is preserved. If enacted, this legislation could mark a transformative moment in waterfowl conservation, setting a precedent for evidence-based, strategic initiatives that safeguard the natural wonders of our nation for generations to come. The HEN Act stands not just as a proposed law but as a beacon of hope for the intricate dance between humanity and the natural world.