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Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area Project – Interior Least Tern Unit Complete

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Contact:
Kelli Alfano,
Public Affairs Coordinator
734/623-2000 or kalfano@ducks.org

Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area Project – Interior Least Tern Unit Complete:
Ducks Unlimited Works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Cinergy Corp.

Princeton, IN – April 17, 2006 – In continuing their work to conserve, preserve and restore wetlands, Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office has identified the Ohio/Mississippi River confluence as a high priority focus area in which to continue their work.

The Ohio/Mississippi River confluence focus area encompasses parts of the lower Ohio River, Wabash, Patoka River, Kaskaskia-Meramec watersheds, and the Mississippi River. The expansive floodplains of these river systems provide a diversity of wetland habitat, including temporarily and seasonally flooded bottomland hardwoods that serve as traditional migration and wintering habitat. In Indiana, most work has been on public lands, particularly Patoka NWR, and focuses on acquisition assistance followed by restoration. This type of work will be continued in the future as opportunities arise.

The Interior Least Tern Unit is one of the recently completed DU projects in the Ohio/Mississippi River confluence focus area. “This unique habitat restoration project is a cooperative effort between several conservation partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Cinergy Corp., and Ducks Unlimited,” said Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist, Jason Hill. “The Interior Least Tern Unit is approximately 55-acres of deep-water habitat containing nesting islands that provide breeding habitat for the endangered Interior Least Tern while also providing habitat for a diversity of waterfowl.”

The unit contains two three-acre nesting islands covered with gravel and protected from land predators by electrified fencing. A water delivery system installed in 2003 is now being utilized, allowing water from the adjacent Gibson Lake to enter the Interior Least Tern Unit. Once the tern nesting season is complete, water from the unit is then diverted through a water distribution canal to fill four adjacent wetlands totaling 193-acres.

With help from a variety of conservation partners, including the USFWS and the Southwest Indiana Four Rivers Project, DU completed the levee construction and water control structure installation for the adjacent wetlands in 2003. Now full of water, the wetlands will be actively managed by Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge staff to provide ideal habitat for a variety of migratory birds, including waterfowl. Likewise, the USFWS expect a significant response by adult terns to the nesting islands in spring of 2006. The Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area Project is a great example of diverse partnerships helping meet the life cycle needs of both game and non-game wildlife species.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands ­- nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

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