- Ducks Unlimited to conserve 600 acres of prairie and wetlands in southwest Minnesota
- Funding comes from $5.8 million in Outdoor Heritage Fund allocations
- Restored habitats will benefit waterfowl, other birds and pollinator insects
- Habitat will be restored over next five years
MEMPHIS, Tennessee – June 3, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited will conserve 600 acres or more of crucial prairie land and wetland habitat in southwest Minnesota with $5,801,000 in funding from Minnesota's Outdoor Heritage Fund.
On June 1, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law the Outdoor Heritage Fund bill, which includes $108 million for organizations and state agencies to protect, restore and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife in Minnesota. The funding was recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and appropriated by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature.
Ducks Unlimited's appropriation will support the fifth phase of DU's Shallow Lake & Wetland Protection Program focused in the Prairie Pothole Region of southwestern Minnesota. The program has conserved more than 2,000 acres.
"This grant will help Ducks Unlimited further our wetlands conservation mission in Minnesota," said Ducks Unlimited Minnesota State Chairman Brian Ross.
The program, part of DU's Living Lakes Initiative, will acquire and restore 600 acres of prairie land and wetlands over the next five years for inclusion in state Wildlife Management Areas for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The Prairie Pothole Region is the most highly degraded ecosystem in the state, with 90 percent of the prairie wetlands drained and 99 percent of native prairie uplands lost to agriculture. The wetlands that remain are often large, deep wetlands or shallow lakes in poor condition.
The restored areas will benefit ducks, pheasants, non-game birds and other prairie wildlife. It also will provide habitat for pollinator species including butterflies and bees.
The Outdoor Heritage fund was established in 2008, when Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. The amendment added 3/8 of 1 percent to the state sales tax, and one-third of the revenue generated by this amendment is placed in the Outdoor Heritage Fund for competitive grants to state agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited.
Ducks Unlimited thanks Gov. Dayton, members of the state Legislature and members of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for their support of conservation in Minnesota.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 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.