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$1 million grant ensures lasting conservation legacy in Central California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – April 30, 2014 – Thanks to a generous $1 million grant through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), which combined with $2 million previously received for this area in phases 1 & 2, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and its partners will be able to conserve more than 9,400 acres of wetland habitat in the Tulare Basin in California’s Central Valley 

The Central Valley provides the most important wintering waterfowl habitat in the entire Pacific Flyway, yet the area has lost more than 95 percent of its historic wetlands. The vast majority of this wetland loss occurred in the Tulare Basin due to water diversions and conversion to agriculture production.  

"This grant is critically important to waterfowl in the Pacific Flyway because it restores highly productive wetlands in the portion of the Central Valley that has suffered the highest losses," said Chris Hildebrandt, DU’s regional biologist for the region. "The Tulare Basin also provides the habitat nexus for birds migrating from the Central Valley further south into Mexico and beyond."  
This project was developed in coordination with the Central Valley Joint Venture (CVJV) and furthers its implementation plan objectives. 

"The CVJV recognizes that the protection, enhancement and restoration of wetlands and associated riparian and upland habitats in the Tulare Basin are of the highest priority," said Bob Shaffer, recently retired CVJV Coordinator. "We appreciate the important habitat conservation work that DU and its partners are delivering through the NAWCA Grants program." 

The grant funds were leveraged by more than $2 million in non-federal funds provided by multiple partners to affect 4,450 acres of wetlands and associated habitats on four sites. Three of the sites are under private ownership and will be managed to provide optimal seasonal wetlands for wintering and migrating waterfowl. Some wetlands will also be maintained into summer to provide brood rearing habitat for locally breeding waterfowl. 

The fourth site is located on the state-managed Mendota Wildlife Area, which offers year-round public use opportunities and waterfowl hunting in the fall/winter period. This tract involves improving wetland flooding efficiency to generate more forage vegetation for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent birds. One of the private tracts, the Ace High Adventures Ranch, offers upland and waterfowl hunting and hosts several annual events to promote habitat conservation and outdoor sporting safety education.

Water availability is the limiting factor for wetland restoration opportunities in the Central Valley, and the project work at Goose Lake tract will allow for the storage of floodwaters that would otherwise be unusable. The partnership between the landowners, the Semitropic Water Storage District and DU will pair agriculture and the environment by re-purposing the stored water to provide a diversified supply portfolio for nearby agriculture lands and sustainable water supplies for the onsite wetlands.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.

Media Contact:
Devin Blankenship
(916) 852-5311

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