Ducks Unlimited has used a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to boost Mingo National Wildlife Refuge for wildlife and recreation.
Mingo is in southeast Missouri, about 150 miles south of the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers. It’s a major migration and wintering area for birds from the Mississippi and Central Flyways.
The refuge is part of the largest remaining block of bottomland hardwood forest in Missouri. The diversity and abundance of fish, amphibian, reptile, invertebrate, bird and mammal species is among the greatest of any ecosystem in North America.
DU’s project replaced a major water-control and spillway structure that’s undersized and failing. The remaining 50-year-old equipment is causing frequent and prolonged flooding in the Mississippi floodplain. By installing new, larger equipment, the project will improve habitat across more than 3,000 acres.
"We’ve learned that going back in and restoring natural hydrology is the way it needs to be," said Mark Flaspohler, DU’s manager of conservation services for Missouri. "The system functions better because you’re not trying to go against Mother Nature."
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous public use opportunities including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education and interpretation. These public use aspects will be enhanced when restoration is complete.
Ducks Unlimited partnered with private donors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation and DU conservation easement holders to secure the NAWCA funds needed for this project. Project partners committed about $3.7 million in matching funds to the $1 million from NAWCA.