Partnering to protect Fort Wayne habitat

Ducks Unlimited, ACRES Land Trust partner to protect Cedar Creek Corridor

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Photo © ACRES Land Trust

Ducks Unlimited has partnered with ACRES Land Trust to help protect the Cedar Creek Corridor, a vital piece of natural habitat north of Fort Wayne.

The Cedar Creek Corridor is a 20-mile stretch of land from Auburn to Fort Wayne continually threatened by development. The creek provides habitat for ducks and numerous other wildlife species and is a popular source of recreation for kayakers, hikers and anglers.

Conservation partnerships are crucial for keeping wetlands and uplands intact. ACRES Land Trust is one of several collaborators with Ducks Unlimited on a $1 million North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant awarded to acquire, restore and enhance more than 1,600 acres throughout Northeast Indiana.

In April, DU used the NAWCA grant to help acquire an 83-acre tract of land which has been transferred to ACRES for ownership and protection.

"With Ducks Unlimited's support, we're increasing wildlife habitat and improving water quality," said Jason Kissel, executive director of ACRES Land Trust, Indiana's oldest and largest local land trust.

"On this project, ACRES is preserving existing wetlands and floodplain, restoring upland forest habitat, and expanding an existing 1,300-acre natural corridor.  It’s a win for wildlife, people and both organizations," Kissel said.
Dane Cramer, Ducks Unlimited’s regional biologist in Indiana, explained the need for conservation allies.

“Ducks Unlimited doesn’t typically own land in Indiana. We help organizations that have the means to own and manage the land,” Cramer said. “Developing these diverse partnerships expands our ability to protect waterfowl habitat where it’s needed.”

Land acquisition is just part of Ducks Unlimited’s solution for habitat protection in this part of the state. For more than a decade, the Northeast Potholes Program has been one of DU's most successful conservation programs in Indiana. The program has restored more than 1,500 acres of native prairie grasslands and 500 acres of wetlands through nearly 200 individual projects done in partnership with several other conservation organizations, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Pheasants Forever.