Federal duck stamp competition winners, (from left) Mark Anderson, Josh Spies and John Wilson, were on hand to dedicate the Dry Lake Waterfowl ProductionArea project
About 100 Ducks Unlimited supporters gathered this spring to dedicate the DU wetland restoration and enhancement project on Dry Lake Waterfowl Production Area in South Dakota and to honor eight South Dakota wildlife artists who have contributed significantly to wildlife habitat in South Dakota, the United States and the continent and also to Ducks Unlimited. The 1,200-acre Dry Lake WPA is owned by the U. S. Government and managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The WPA is situated in the Prairie Coteau region of eastern South Dakota in Brookings County near Arlington and is an important waterfowl production area. DU cooperated with the USFWS to restore and enhance a drained 350-acre seasonal wetland situated on Dry Lake WPA.
During the dedication eight prominent wildlife artists from South Dakota were honored for their notable contributions to wildlife habitat conservation. These artists include Rosemary Millette, Marion Toillion, Russ Duerkson, John Wilson, Mark Anderson, Joshua Spies, John Green and Jeff Reuter. Their names are inscribed on a bronze plaque displayed on Dry Lake WPA. As a special note, three of these artists have won the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp competition and were in attendance at the dedication. These included John Wilson, Mark Anderson and Joshua Spies.
Also honored during the dedication were 66 major contributors to DU. Their names are also inscribed in a bronze plaque displayed on Dry Lake WPA.
Dry Lake WPA produces large number of waterfowl including mallards, blue-winged teal, northern pintails, redheads, ruddy ducks, wood ducks, gadwalls and Canada geese. In addition, ring-necked pheasants and white-tailed deer are abundant on the area. Wetland wildlife species such as great blue herons, great egrets, soras, pied billed grebes, American bitterns, red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds, coots, marsh wrens, muskrats and raccoons are also common inhabitants of Dry Lake WPA. Approximately, 20 drained wetlands have been restored on Dry Lake WPA and uplands on the WPA have been restored to native grassland and a wheatgrass-legume mix (Dense Nesting Cover). The WPA is managed to produce large numbers of waterfowl and other wildlife species. The area is popular with hunters, bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts.