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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Budweiser's 2009 Conservationist of the Year Uses Prize Money to Help Restore Critical Wetland


Ducks Unlimited, AGFC Enhance Waterfowl Area

STUTTGART, Ark. Oct. 7, 2010 – If Arkansas is the waterfowl hunting Mecca, then Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area is the crown jewel of public waterfowl hunting. Ducks Unlimited and partners recently completed restoration work on a part of Bayou Meto known as Wrape Plantation, ensuring it continues to provide quality habitat for waterfowl and excellent opportunities for waterfowlers. 

“This area is particularly important to waterfowl, and we are pleased to have it completed in time for this year’s fall flight,” Craig Hilburn, DU manager of conservation programs, said.

Wrape Plantation is a 712-acre rest area containing several agricultural fields and a natural brake. DU and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff devised a state-of-the-art water delivery system to provide dependable water for wetland management at Wrape and adjacent Buckingham Flats, a popular hunting area at Bayou Meto WMA.

George Dunklin, Jr., AGFC Commissioner, long-time DU supporter and a current member of DU’s board of directors, provided partial funding for the project by winning the 2009 Budweiser Conservationist of the Year Award. Each year the winner selects a conservation organization to receive a $50,000 grant from Budweiser and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support their priority conservation projects.

As a passionate waterfowl enthusiast, Dunklin selected Ducks Unlimited and Bayou Meto WMA as the recipients of these funds. All of the grant funds from the 2009 award were utilized for the restoration efforts at Wrape Plantation and Buckingham Flats.

“I’m proud to be able to direct these funds to one of Arkansas’s most spectacular and well-known public areas,” Dunklin said. “These efforts will improve habitat quality at Wrape Plantation and improve water management at Buckingham Flats to prevent stress to valuable red oaks. It is a true win-win for the ducks and the hunters of Arkansas.”

DU was set to begin construction on Wrape Plantation in the spring of 2009, but unusually heavy rains throughout the year repeatedly delayed work. Now completed, the area will provide this year’s fall waterfowl flights valuable food resources and a place to rest on their annual journey south.
Brett Morgan Halowell Reservoir and Wrape Plantation, uniquely situated on either end of Bayou Meto WMA, serve as refuges for waterfowl and cannot be hunted. However, local hunters recognize these important rest areas provide a significant source of ducks for the surrounding huntable areas. Habitat restoration at both sites will provide much-needed quality food resources for ducks near Bayou Meto WMA.

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.

Andi Cooper


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