GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Sept. 20, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited commemorated the protection of nearly a mile of land along the lower Grand River during a celebration Thursday, Sept. 8, at Ottawa County Park in Allendale Township.
Ducks Unlimited partnered with Ottawa County Parks in 2011 to purchase a 119-acre tract of land containing a mix of emergent, forested and open-water wetlands. Located near the rapidly expanding western edge of Grand Rapids, this tract was in immediate danger of urban development.
"Open lands are disappearing quickly," said Dan Schulz, volunteer with the Greater Grand Rapids Ducks University chapter. "Only if we act now will we be able to secure land, forever for the future."
The protected land benefits migrating waterfowl and other bird species and improves water conditions by reducing sedimentation along this section of the Grand River. The land was purchased as part of a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant administered by Ducks Unlimited.
The protected land also offers the surrounding community a public park for nature watching, dog walking and recreating.
To date, Ottawa County Parks has permanently protected 2,168 acres among 14 parks and open-space lands in the Grand River Greenway Plan's protection corridor along the Grand River.
During the ceremony, Ducks Unlimited dedicated the land to longtime Ducks Unlimited supporter David D. Hunting Jr. and celebrated the success of its Greater Grand Rapids Chapter.
The event featured brief presentations from Ducks Unlimited and chapter partners.
"On behalf of all volunteers and supporters here in Michigan, I'm proud to stand on the results of DU's conservation efforts," said David Steinbach, Ducks Unlimited Michigan chairman.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.8 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.