Last year, Ducks Unlimited partnered with several governmental, educational, and private organizations to form the Middle Chester River Partnership (MCRP). The goal of the MCRP is to restore the Middle Chester River Watershed in Kent County, Maryland, by implementing a long-term plan to address various factors contributing to the degradation of the watershed. The Middle Chester River Watershed drains directly into Chesapeake Bay and provides vital habitat and water resources for migratory waterfowl, other wetland-dependent wildlife, and people.
The watershed is located in DU's Upper Chesapeake Priority Area.
This partnership has three major objectives: upgrading and replacing failing septic systems, promoting sustainable agricultural practices such as the planting of buffer strips along watercourses and the use of ecologically-sound agricultural equipment, and implementing wetland restoration projects. These efforts will help reduce excess nutrient runoff, increase wildlife habitat, and improve water quality in the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay. DU is responsible for wetland restoration work, including survey, design, and construction management.
Through this partnership, DU hopes to complete a minimum of two projects a year for three years. To date, DU has completed two of the six scheduled restorations and is on track to complete the remaining four on schedule. Ducks Unlimited has completed a survey and design for an additional project, on which construction is scheduled to begin in the near future. DU has also identified three new restoration sites in the watershed.
The plan to restore this watershed is part of DU's Completing the Cycle Initiative, a landscape-level effort that addresses the lifecycle needs of waterfowl in the northeastern Atlantic Flyway by combining science, public policy, and on-the-ground habitat conservation.