The generosity of 10 Alabama Ducks Unlimited Life Sponsors resulted in the acquisition of 153 acres of pristine wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest near Tuscaloosa, AL. This section of Alabama natural habitat is located within the Forever Wild Sipsey River Tract in Tuscaloosa County.
A dedication plaque recognizing the donors was unveiled in March 2004 at the site. This group includes Logan and Eliza Anderson, R. Forrest Fitts, Ernest Hale, Drs. Jerry and Isabel Oldshue, and Jerry Oldshue Jr., all of Tuscaloosa; Charles E. Carper IV, John P. Darnall IV, Don W. Drennen Jr., Barry "Coot" Saunders Jr., and Carol Anne Sutfin, all of Birmingham.
Future plans to improve waterfowl habitat include wetland restoration in the bottomland hardwoods through the construction of levees and the installation of water control structures.
Fitts, who serves as Alabama Ducks Unlimited State Chairman, said preserving Alabama wilderness is an investment that yields immediate results.
"How can you put a value on this land's importance to waterfowl? It's priceless, and now it is protected," Fitts said. "This little piece of Alabama is more than cypress knees and mud. It's us, a part of our heritage."
This project provides valuable foraging habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl along the Sipsey River. In addition, bottomland hardwoods provide benefits to white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and numerous other wildlife species.
DU Life Sponsors whose donations made possible the acquisition of 153 acres of Alabama natural habitat include (from left) Barry "Coot" Saunders; Don Drennen Jr.; Charles E. Carper IV; Carol Anne Sutfin; Alabama DU State Chairman; Sipsey River Initiative Chairman R. Forrest Fitts; Michael Anderson, and daughters Logan and Eliza; and Drs. Isabel and Jerry Oldshue with their son Jerry Oldshue Jr., behind them. Unable to attend, but also an important part of this undertaking, were John P. Darnall Jr. and Ernest Hale.