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Critical waterfowl migration habitat restored in Kansas


McPherson Valley Wetlands connects breeding and wintering grounds

MCPHERSON, Kan., September 12, 2007 – Nearly 5,000 acres of restored wetlands and uplands will provide migration habitat for waterfowl in McPherson County, Kansas. Ducks Unlimited, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and other partners have ensured protection and management of this area as wildlife habitat.

Partners gather for dedication of McPherson Valley Wetlands restoration project
“Water rights are an issue in this region that can hinder wetland management activities,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs Dr. Scott Manley. “We not only restored over 1,800 acres of emergent marsh but also negotiated the rights to ensure these wetlands have water during critical migration periods.”

The McPherson Valley Wetlands project contributes to a complex of critical migration habitat for central flyway waterfowl that includes Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Many waterfowl and shorebird biologists hail this region as the most important migration staging area in North America.

“These key wetlands connect nesting habitats in the north with wintering areas in the south,” said Brent Theede, public lands manager for the Department. “The McPherson Valley Wetlands will provide resources to help migrating birds reach their destination with improved odds for survival and reproduction.”

Beginning in 1989, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks started acquiring property in the McPherson Valley with the intent to restore 5,000 acres to its original wetland conditions. With the help of DU and funds provided by several North American Wetland Conservation Act grants, partners installed water pumps and water control structures. Partners restored the wildlife habitat on the property by establishing a combination of wetlands and grasslands.

“This project was built on partnerships,” Manley said. “We have 15 partners who collaborated on this project and each brings important resources, expertise and funding to achieve common goals.”

Additional partners on this project included The Nature Conservancy, Archer Daniels Midland Koch Pipeline Company, L.P., George Stumps Wildlife Trust, Pheasants Forever, Westar Energy, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Quail Unlimited, Southwestern College, R. Michael Rhodes Foundation and Elenor Clark.

Wetlands in areas of Kansas provide food and rest areas for migrating waterfowl during spring and fall. Completion of the McPherson Valley Wetlands project will ensure wetlands and associated uplands remain protected and continue to support waterfowl populations in the future. 

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. 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.

Contact: Jennifer P. Kross, Communications Biologist, (701) 202-8896, jkross@ducks.org
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Related:  kansas

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