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DU and Partners Granted NAWCA Funds for Wetland Restoration in Kansas

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TOPEKA, Kan., April 13, 2006 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) and its partners have been awarded a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to conserve 1,397 acres on and around the Jamestown Wildlife Area in Cloud County, Kan. More than $2 million in partner funds will be matched with nearly $1 million in NAWCA grant funds to support wetland restoration, enhancement and acquisition activities.

“Jamestown Wildlife Area is an important migration stopover in the Central Flyway,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs Dr. Scott Manley. “Wetlands here provide a critical link between waterfowl breeding grounds in the Prairie Pothole Region and wintering grounds along the Mississippi River and the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Completion of this multi-phase project will restore the hydrology and historical wildlife value to the area.”

DU partnered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), Pheasants Forever, The Nature Conservancy, Westar Energy, the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service on this project. Dr. Manley said this is the first of a three-phase effort with these partners to acquire, restore and enhance wetlands on and around the Jamestown Wildlife Area.

Jamestown Wildlife Area is located in the central mixed grass prairie region of the United States. The primary conservation goal in this region is to provide sufficient foraging resources during fall and spring to accommodate migrating waterfowl and other birds. This NAWCA project supports that goal by improving wetlands to promote growth of seed producing plants preferred by waterfowl. In addition, upland areas adjacent to improved wetlands will be planted to native grasses, which may promote waterfowl nesting.

The first priority of this project is to restore wetland quality and function to Gun Club Marsh and Game Keeper Marsh. These two large wetlands are overgrown with cattails and need renovations to existing water control structures to improve water management capabilities. Once restoration is complete, the KDWP will manage water levels to provide dependable food resources for migrating waterfowl.

Marsh Creek runs through Jamestown Wildlife Area and is the focal point of this conservation project. Goals are to improve watershed hydrology and restore stream flow to Marsh Creek and subsequently to the Republican River. This will ensure sufficient water is available to meet the demands of the municipal area, agriculture irrigation and wildlife and fish populations.

Another priority of this project is to incorporate the numerous small marshes and oxbow lakes that exist along Marsh Creek into the Jamestown Wildlife Area. By expanding the boundaries of this wildlife area and protecting wetlands in the floodplain of Marsh Creek ecological benefits will occur in the immediate area and further downstream.

Waterfowl species that will benefit directly from the completion of this project include mallard, northern pintail, American wigeon, lesser scaup, redhead and canvasback. Numerous species of shorebirds, wading birds, raptors and songbirds can also be found in this area of northern Kansas. More than 200 bird species have been recorded in the Jamestown area along Marsh Creek.

Overall, the project lands include 1,253 acres of inland wetlands with natural wetland vegetation, 44 acres of forested wetlands and 100 acres of associated upland. The KDWP will manage the project area and the public will have access for recreation activities including wildlife watching and waterfowl, pheasant and quail hunting. Project lands may also be used for research and education purposes.

“The Jamestown Wildlife Area is a great example of how NAWCA fosters public-private partnerships to restore wetland habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife,” said Representative Jerry Moran. “This restoration project will provide benefits to hunters, birdwatchers and all people who enjoy the natural resources of northern Kansas.”

In Washington, D.C., DU Governmental Affairs staff works with Congress to support annual funding for NAWCA and continue the program’s waterfowl conservation success. The Jamestown Wildlife Area project is within and will benefit the Congressional district of Representative Jerry Moran.

Since 1990, NAWCA has provided over $8.8 million in funding for 13 conservation projects on nearly 68 thousand acres in Kansas. Many partners, including private landowners, corporations and other non-government organizations have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.

NAWCA stimulates public-private partnerships in support of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. NAWCA is a non-regulatory, incentive-based, voluntary and competitive habitat conservation grant program. NAWCA provides federal cost-share funding to protect, restore, and manage wetland habitats for wildlife and many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities for people, from bird watching to hunting.

For more information on NAWCA, go to http://www.ducks.org/nawca

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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