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Southeast Wetlands Initiative

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Ducks Unlimited's Southeast Wetlands Initiative encompasses much of the southeastern United States, a dynamic geographical region steeped in time-honored traditions and boasting a strong hunting heritage. The Southeast Wetlands Initiative area supports at least half of the waterfowl wintering in the Atlantic Flyway, and wetlands in this region serve as the year-round home of wood ducks and mottled ducks. Specific wetland habitats important to waterfowl within the region include managed coastal wetlands, floodplain forests along river systems, freshwater marshes, coastal bays, and estuaries.

From the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina sounds to the St. Johns River, Mobile Bay, and the Tennessee River, some of the Atlantic and eastern Mississippi flyways' most famous and threatened wetland systems can be found within the Southeast Wetlands Initiative area. Development pressures from population growth and related urban expansion are among the greatest challenges to these wetlands. Fortunately, due to a rich outdoor heritage, there are many supporters and partnership efforts at the ready to conserve the remaining habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife and to restore those that have been altered.

A Legacy of Permanent Protection

For decades, Ducks Unlimited has used conservation easements to permanently protect important waterfowl habitat from high-density development across the nation, while allowing landowners to retain and enjoy their lands. Within the Southeast Wetlands Initiative area, DU secures donated or purchased easements on priority habitats along the South Atlantic coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, some of which constitute areas of international ecological importance. The Southeast Wetlands Initiative area is frequented by a vast array of birds and winters up to 50 percent of all waterfowl in the Atlantic Flyway.

Conservation easements also serve double duty by simultaneously providing permanent habitat protection and serving as an asset when Ducks Unlimited seeks public funding. The monetary value of the easements provides DU with an important non-federal match when applying for North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants or other state and federal funding programs.

DU's Plan for the Southeast Wetlands

Ducks Unlimited is seeking to raise $49.5 million in public and philanthropic funds to achieve our conservation goals in the Southeast Wetlands Initiative area, including nearly $37 million from generous philanthropic leaders like you. Funding derived from the Southeast Wetlands Initiative enables Ducks Unlimited to conduct important science, public policy, and outreach efforts, as well as conserving the habitats important to waterfowl that migrate and winter in these states. DU's research and evaluation efforts are the foundation upon which our direct conservation programs and our policy and outreach work are based.

Conservation work under the Southeast Wetlands Initiative will focus on restoration and enhancement of public lands containing key wintering waterfowl habitat, including managed coastal wetlands, bottomland hardwood forests, and freshwater marshes, with state and federal partners. Long-term protection of waterfowl habitat on private lands through donation of conservation easements will also be important. To a lesser extent, DU will participate in the acquisition of lands that provide critical wetland habitat.

Southeast Wetlands at a Glance

Five-Year Initiative Goals (FY 2012-16)
Habitat Delivery: 33,300 acres
Public Revenue: $12.6 million
Philanthropic Revenue: $36.9 million
Total Revenue Goal: $49.5 million

Initiative States:
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Tennessee, and Virginia

Conservation Focus:
• Restoration and enhancement of public lands containing key wintering waterfowl habitat, including managed coastal wetlands, bottomland hardwood forests, and freshwater marshes, with state and federal partners
• Permanent protection of key private land habitats

Cross-border Conservation


Waterfowl are a continentally shared resource, and Ducks Unlimited has been working across North America since 1937 to ensure a strong future for ducks and for waterfowl hunters. By contributing to DU's Southeast Wetlands initiative, you will be supporting important waterfowl habitat conservation in the southeastern United States, as well as on the breeding grounds that produce most of the region's waterfowl, including the Prairie Pothole Region and Western Boreal Forest of the United States and Canada, the Great Lakes, and Eastern Canada.

Our Southeast Wetlands Need You Now

Your gift to Ducks Unlimited is invaluable, and it is truly the greatest contribution you can make to secure the future of wetlands and waterfowl. Every dollar you give to Ducks Unlimited is leveraged multiple times to create a conservation impact far beyond your initial gift. In addition, we invest at least 80 cents of every dollar received in our conservation mission. Start making a difference right now for waterfowl, outdoorsmen, and future generations of wildlife and people by making your gift to DU's Southeast Wetlands Initiative. Help conserve more than 33,000 acres of key habitats in the southeastern United States with your gift today.

Don't wait.

Call DU at (601) 956-1936 today to speak with our fundraising staff for your area.

Make an online gift.

Download a printable PDF for this initiative

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