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DU receives $1 million grant for Lahontan Valley and Western Nevada wetland conservation work

Collaborative effort will conserve more than 8,700 acres of habitat
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March 31, 2014 – Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) was recently awarded the first-ever North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant in the Lahontan Valley region, which will help conserve 8,780 acres of habitat in western Nevada. Approximately $2.3 million in partner funds will be paired with $1 million in NAWCA grant funds to underwrite wetlands restoration and enhancement activities. 

"The Lahontan Valley region provides a major wetland linkage for several million waterfowl coming from prairie Canada via the Great Salt Lake to the east and wintering grounds in the California Central Valley to the west," said DU regional biologist John Ranlett, who prepared the grant application. "In spring, this migration occurs in reverse order. Wetland and upland habitat improvements provided by this project will benefit numerous waterfowl, shorebirds, other waterbirds, and songbirds that use the area during their annual cycles."

Work accomplished through the grant will conserve wetlands and wetland-dependent migratory bird populations on 11 sites within the Intermountain West Joint Venture's (IWJV) Lahontan Valley–Carson Valley Wetlands Focus Area. The Lahontan Valley ecosystem is one of the most important wetland complexes for waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds in North America—one of 43 areas of greatest continental significance to ducks, geese, and swans—with millions of waterfowl use days recorded annually. 

The Lahontan Valley–Western Nevada Wetlands Project was developed in close coordination with the IWJV and is the first of several phases of NAWCA-funded wetland projects that DU will eventually propose for the region. The Joint Venture shares DU's excitement about the grant, with IWJV coordinator Dave Smith stating the grant award will be "a monumental step for wetlands conservation in Nevada, with the proposed work matching the urgency of the situation while there still is a chance to conserve those vital wetlands." 

DU teamed with 16 partners over the past two years to develop the project proposal and apply for the NAWCA grant. The current work will focus on 11 tracts of land and more than 92% of all project work will occur on federal, state, tribal or local government-owned lands managed specifically for wetlands and the wetland-dependent migratory birds they support, or as public open space. This includes 8,078 acres on seven of the 11 project sites, with five sites providing public hunting on more than 7,000 acres. The five sites are Stillwater NWR, Carson Lake and Pasture, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribal Wetlands, Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area and Incline Village Wetlands Enhancement Facility. The two publicly accessible sites not open for hunting are on the lands owned by Carson City Department of Parks and Recreation along the Carson River and at The Nature Conservancy's River Fork Ranch. 

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 15 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.

Media Contact:
Devin Blankenship
(916) 852-5311
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