Ducks Unlimited Canada Receives Award of Excellence in GIS for Advancing Wetland Conservation

du_logoESRI Canada has presented an Award of Excellence to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) for its extensive use of geographic information system (GIS) technology to drive wetland conservation efforts across the country.  The award was presented at the 2009 ESRI Regional User Conference in Regina, Canada.

As Canada’s leading wetland conservation organization, DUC conducts environmental research, delivers education programs and advocates policy change for conserving wetlands and associated habitat to benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people.  In 2002, DUC partnered with Environment Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Canada) on the Canadian Wetland Inventory (CWI) project, which works to produce a comprehensive and standardized inventory of Canada’s wetlands using GIS.  The project is expected to provide consistent environmental information for better decision making affecting wetland conservation, management and land use planning.

“DUC has a long successful history of using GIS for its important work,” said James Wickson, Vice President of Sales and Professional Services, ESRI Canada.  “We commend them on their leadership role in the Canadian Wetland Inventory project and their continued efforts in using GIS to positively impact the environment and society.  We look forward to helping them further harness the power of GIS to advance their conservation efforts.”

To date, the CWI has completed inventories on 25 study sites across nine ecozones representing the diversity of wetland types across Canada.  The CWI also plans to produce a comprehensive map of Canada’s wetlands that the public can access through Natural Resource Canada’s GeoBase.

In addition to the CWI project, DUC has been using ESRI Canada’s GIS solutions for over a decade to develop applications for various areas of its operations including conservation planning and decision support, waterfowl and wetlands research, conservation program asset management, and migration route mapping.  DUC also uses GIS for monitoring policy change, developing marketing programs and managing fundraising activities.  The solutions are built on ESRI ArcGIS, an integrated suite of software that provides a scalable, open and interoperable platform for creating, integrating and analyzing geographic data.

“ESRI’s GIS software has been a core component in the planning and delivery of our conservation programs,” said Brian Kazmerik, National GIS Manager, DUC.  “Through innovative use of GIS technology, we are able to maintain a leadership role in the conservation community by providing the best available spatial information, tools, services and decision support sytems to help target, deliver and monitor conservation and fundraising activities.  This award from ESRI Canada inspires us to further leverage GIS to enhance other areas of our operations and continue making informed decisions regarding Canada’s wetland resources.”

Leveraging technology has been key to DUC’s strategy.  The organization began using remote sensing techniques to detect wetlands in 1979.  Since then, DUC has mapped 156 million hectares of Canadian wetlands using satellite imagery and aerial photography.  Today, more than a quarter of DUC’s employees use ESRI software to support operations.  In the future, DUC plans to continue leveraging GIS for wetland mapping and monitoring.  DUC also works to implement tighter integration of its corporate business application with geospatial data and develop more applications based on ArcGIS for its fundraising and conservation programs.

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