CANTON, Ill. – Aug. 8, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited congratulates the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on the designation of Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Emiquon Preserve as "Wetlands of International Importance" under criteria of the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty committing the United States and other governments to the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
In addition to being a worldwide leader and supporter of wetlands conservation, DU has also been an on-the-ground conservation partner on the now internationally recognized Emiquon site. According to DU Regional Biologist Eric Schenck, Ducks Unlimited has invested more than $500,000 in the USFWS partnership for the acquisition and restoration of wetland habitat at Emiquon NWR. DU also submitted a letter supporting the nomination of the Emiquon complex as a wetland of international importance to the committee of scientists that approved the designation.
"Emiquon has been a remarkable project for ducks and other migratory birds," Schenck said. "It is hard to believe that a decade ago all of this land was being farmed."
According to Schenck, aerial surveys conducted by the Illinois Natural History Survey now show the Emiquon complex as being the number-one wetland site on the Illinois River for duck use during fall migration.
DU also congratulates The Wetlands Initiative on the co-designation of the Wes and Sue Dixon Waterfowl Refuge in Putnam County as yet another Illinois River "Wetland of International Importance." According to DU, the designation of two separate wetland sites on the same river is unusual, but serves as a testimony to the importance of the Illinois River to waterfowl and the importance of the cooperative work being done by conservation organizations in Illinois to restore globally significant wetlands.
"The Emiquon and Dixon refuges are a real world examples of the ‘field of dreams' motto—build it, and they will come," Schenck said. "Only in this case, we are talking about wetlands and waterfowl."
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 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. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.