Alabama Wetlands Reserve Program

The partnership of Ducks Unlimited with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is a natural one. The mission of Ducks Unlimited is to conserve wetland habitat for the benefit of North America's waterfowl. The goal of the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) which administered by the NRCS, is to restore converted wetlands. Landowners with eligible lands that were converted prior to 1985 have an opportunity to benefit from this partnership by participating in the program and conducting habitat restoration work.

For many years, there has been a growing awareness of the many functions and values of wetlands. It has been estimated that up to 50% of the natural wetland areas within the state have been converted due to draining or filling for agriculture, urban development and other uses. In some regions, this loss rate may have exceeded 80 percent. Although the loss due to agriculture has drastically slowed since 1985, the damage has already been done to many acres of wetland. There is no question that wetlands are vital for the continued existance of waterfowl, wading birds and other wetland related wildlife. This is why wetland restoration is becoming a recognized need in Alabama.

Accomplishments
Since 1998, Ducks Unlimited has assisted the NRCS with reforestation activities in Alabama. Accomplishments to date include reforestation of bottomland hardwoods (i.e., planting of bare-root seedlings) on 1,002 acres enrolled in the WRP.

Benefits

  • Creates optimum quality waterfowl habitat in areas of critical habitat need

  • Landowners, their families, and friends enjoy the wildlife and other natural values of the areas 

  • Landowners profit from recreational activities and potential for lease hunting 

  • Creates a partnership that provides landowners with the best wetlands restoration expertise 

  • Improves water quality through natural water filtration 

  • Reduces flood risk through flood water storage 

  • Landowners maintain control of access to the land