ST. PAUL  (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the state's breeding duck and goose populations have improved from last year.

The DNR's annual spring waterfowl surveys put the state's estimated breeding duck population at 687,000 compared with 531,000 last year. This year's estimate is 11 percent above the long-term average of 622,000. The state's long-term goal is a breeding population of 1 million ducks.

Thanks to wet conditions since last fall, the estimated number of wetlands has risen to a record 360,000, up 33 percent from last year. DNR waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts says that probably resulted in large numbers of ducks being hatched this year.

The Canada goose population is estimated at 370,000, compared with last year's 311,000.

The DNR will announce this fall's waterfowl hunting regulations in early August.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)