Ducks Unlimited recently partnered with the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition to lead a tour of Great Lakes wetland restoration projects along the west shore of Green Bay. Led by DU Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office Director of Public Policy Gildo Tori, the tour featured completed and ongoing projects that have successfully restored habitat, improved water quality and public recreation in Green Bay. Attendees included multiple partner agencies and organizations, local volunteers, Wisconsin Public Radio media and staff members of elected officials.
The Great Lakes region has long been a top priority for DU conservation because of how vital the lakes and their associated wetlands and uplands are to waterfowl. It is estimated that more than 3 million ducks migrate annually through the region, but development and pollution are steadily decreasing the quantity and the quality of the habitat they depend on. This tour was a key part of DU's efforts to educate people about the values of conservation. It was also a way to celebrate the work DU and partners have done to reverse the trends of wetland habitat losses and make the Great Lakes a better place for waterfowl, wildlife and people.
The tour began at a waterfowl preserve named after one of DU's founders who created the preserve and then donated the 920 acres of forest, meadows and wetlands for the benefit of local waterfowlers. Each tour stop included presentations from DU, and partners like the Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy. During tour stops, DU's Regional Engineer Brian Nicholson explained the workings of multiple DU partnership projects.
The tour was successful in educating staff members of elected officials and partners about the many benefits of the restoration work DU is doing under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. These highly successful programs are essential to conserving our nation's wetlands and wildlife, and to sustaining the innumerable jobs and local economies that depend on the $80 billion a year industry of hunting and fishing.