Ducks Unlimited Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Director Becky Humphries joined U.S Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and Congressman John Dingell recently to announce the acquisition of 28-acres for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. The land, which is known as the Blanchett Tract, was purchased through a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
grant administered by Ducks Unlimited.
"This property came to us through NAWCA, an extremely successful and productive conservation program that stimulates local partnerships like those we're celebrating today," Humphries said. "Because the program is so effective, NAWCA funds are usually tripled or quadrupled on the local level – a great return for federal investment. Now that we've secured the land, our next step is to restore the tract to healthy wetlands through another NAWCA grant currently being planned. Conservation like this really pays for itself, and stimulates $20 million annually in hunting and outdoor-related economic activity in Michigan."
Ducks Unlimited has more than 26,000 members in Michigan
. The money they raise provides matching funds for wetland conservation projects in-state and across the continent.
Programs like NAWCA are a true federal investment when matched by these locally raised funds. On average, non-federal partners contribute $3.20 for every federal dollar invested in NAWCA.
With the addition of the Blanchett Tract, the International Refuge now spans 5,732 acres of land for the public to enjoy in the heart of Detroit, and south to the Ohio border.
Another partner in the project is the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge offers excellent and ever-expanding opportunities for the American public to connect with the natural world, the goal of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative.