ANN ARBOR, Mich. – March 24, 2010 – The North American Wetlands Conservation Council recently approved Ducks Unlimited and its conservation partners' proposal for a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to protect and restore wetland habitat along the Wabash River Corridor in Vermillion, Parke, Putnam, Vigo, Clay, Owen, Sullivan, Greene, Knox, Daviess, Gibson and Pike Counties of Indiana. The majority of this project area has been selected for the creation of the Indiana Department of Natural Resource's (IDNR) new Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA). This FWA will be situated along a 17-mile stretch of the Wabash River, ultimately encompassing six thousand acres of bottomland forest and floodplain wetlands.
"The approval of this grant is a huge conservation success for DU, the IDNR, our other partners, and Indiana," said Michael Sertle, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist for Indiana. "Without this NAWCA grant, it is unlikely that we could have achieved such a large conservation win for Indiana's habitat, wildlife, and people."
Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Duke Energy, The Nature Conservancy, National Wild Turkey Federation, the Vigo County Parks Department, Wabash River Development & Beautification Inc., the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide matching and non-matching funds to leverage NAWCA funding.
Approximately $2,383,417 in matching and non-matching funds from project partners and $1,000,000 in NAWCA grant funds will protect and restore emergent and forested wetlands critical to waterfowl in southwestern Indiana. Conservation work is expected to take place over the next five years. The partners' efforts in the Wabash River watershed will target waterfowl migration, wintering, and breeding habitat within the largest river corridor in Indiana, creation of a new IDNR FWA, expansion of existing nature preserves, and restoration of private wetlands important for waterfowl production and migration and other wildlife. Agriculture and mining development dominate the landscape and have resulted in drained wetlands, loss of historic deciduous forest and prairie, eroded stream banks, nutrient loading in waterways, and general habitat loss. This project will protect, restore, and enhance emergent, forested, and scrub-shrub wetlands for waterfowl, other migratory birds, other wildlife, fish, and the people of Indiana.
Ducks Unlimited 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 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.