Federal NAWCA grant supports long-term wetland conservation
CHARLESTON, S.C., September 28, 2009 – Ducks Unlimited and partners received a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant for protection and enhancement of over 8,000 acres of diverse wildlife habitat in Beaufort, Charleston, and Georgetown counties in South Carolina. Partners contributed over $3.2 million in matching funds toward the federal grant.
“Over 27 percent of South Carolina’s original wetlands have been lost,” said Craig LeSchack, Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Programs. “In response to this dramatic decline, DU established the South Carolina Lowcountry Initiative over 20 years ago to curtail the continuing loss of important wetland habitat. Today the Initiative is a nationally recognized wetlands conservation effort that covers 3 million acres across 14 coastal counties in cooperation with the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.”
As a continuation of these long term conservation goals, this grant includes four project sites in public and private ownership including the Ormand Hall Unit at Santee Coastal Reserve, the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center, the Bonny Hall Unit at ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and private land under a permanent conservation easement.
|Bonny Hall Unit on ACE Basin NWR
Ormand Hall Unit on Santee Coastal Reserve
Yawkey Wildlife Center
“The South Carolina Lowcountry Wetlands Initiative I project combines the financial contributions, expertise and management skills of government agencies, non-government project partners, and private landowners with grant funds to support a mix of wetlands protection and enhancement projects,” LeSchack said.
Project partners include the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Wetlands America Trust, the Yawkey Foundation, and a private landowner.
“The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has partnered with Ducks Unlimited for over 25 years in improving habitat across the state and we are pleased to partner again with DU on the wetland enhancement projects at the Santee Coastal Reserve and the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center,” John Frampton, SCDNR director, said. “The work on these areas will improve over 3,000 acres of habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and other wetland wildlife.”
In Washington, D.C., Ducks Unlimited’s governmental affairs staff works with Congress to garner support for annual funding of NAWCA. To date, NAWCA has helped fund more than 1,600 wetland projects on 25 million acres in all 50 states, every province of Canada, and areas in Mexico. In South Carolina alone, NAWCA projects have conserved over 180,000 acres.
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 – natures’ most productive ecosystem – and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres important to waterfowl each year.
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