Delta Waterfowl Applauds Introduction of HEN Act in U.S. House of Representatives

Proposed law would fund important duck production and habitat conservation efforts to bolster waterfowl populations

A mallard hen peers out of her Delta Waterfowl hen house, situated over a wetland in the prairie pothole region of North America. She is surrounded by an out of focus background of a field of green grass and long grass.

For immediate release
December 21, 2023

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — A bill to authorize $3 million annually to enhance duck production in the prairie pothole region through the installation and maintenance of Hen Houses and to develop nesting and brood habitat in California was introduced today in Congress.

H.R. 6854—The Habitat Enhancement Now, or HEN Act—was put forward by Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minnesota, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, and Rep. Douglas LaMalfa, R-California.

“We sincerely appreciate the leadership of Congresswoman Fischbach and Congressman Thompson and Congressman LaMalfa to invest in tools that can significantly boost duck production,” said Dr. Scott Petrie, chief executive officer of Delta Waterfowl. “The science of breeding ducks has shown that nest success is often far below desired levels in the prairies and brood habitat is limiting production in California. This legislation will create an incremental funding stream to address those challenges head on.”

Decades of research and use have proven that Hen Houses nesting structures cost-effectively increase mallard nest success by keeping the hen and her clutch of eggs out of reach of mammalian nest predators. On the prairies, mallards consistently use Hen Houses at high rates, and experience up to 12 times more nest success over mallards that nest in nearby upland grass cover.

Breeding duck populations in California face ever-increasing pressure from development and wetland habitat loss. As a result, targeted efforts to increase duck production are a high priority to enhance duck production for waterfowlers in California and throughout the Pacific Flyway.

“We believe this additional investment will complement the significant investment that federal, state, provincial agencies, and non-profit conservation partners are making in habitat conservation every day,” said John Devney, chief policy officer for Delta Waterfowl. “The HEN Act will provide resources to deliver proven duck production tools with meaningful benefits to duck hunters across the continent. This legislation is great news for duck hunters everywhere.”

Delta’s policy team and program staff will work with partners such as California Waterfowl Association and the bill’s co-sponsors to see the legislation signed into law.

“Hunting is an important piece of American heritage, and I will do everything I can to support sportsmen and sportswomen,” said Rep. Fischbach. “The HEN Act is a commonsense, nonintrusive way to bolster duck populations for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.”

Delta Waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting in North America. Visit

For more information, contact John Devney at (701) 471-4235 or