FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelli Alfano,
Public Affairs Coordinator
Ducks Unlimited Partners with the Michigan DNR, Waterfowl U.S.A. and North American Wetlands Conservation Council to Purchase Lake Erie Coastal Wetlands
Ann Arbor, MI – March 21, 2006 – On Wednesday, March 15, 2006, Ducks Unlimited along with its partners the State of Michigan, Waterfowl U.S.A. and North American Wetlands Conservation Council, purchased a 66-acre parcel of Lake Erie coastal wetlands in southeastern Monroe County, MI. This acquisition was completed under the Lake St. Clair/Western Lake Erie Watershed Project, a $3.5 million effort on behalf of 13 partner organizations to conserve more than 4,100 acres of wetlands and associated uplands in southeast Michigan. A key part of this effort is a $1 million federal grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act awarded to Ducks Unlimited in 2002.
The private parcel is located just north of Luna Pier, MI and has been incorporated into the adjacent Erie State Game Area.
This unique property contains approximately 60 acres of Great Lakes coastal wetland associated with Lake Erie and 6 acres of adjacent upland buffer. “The permanent protection and future management of this wetland property will ensure that critical production and migration habitat is available for a diversity of waterfowl, including mallards, Canada geese and blue-winged teal, and a variety of other wetland dependent fish and wildlife, including many threatened or endangered species,” states Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Joe Robison.
According to Ducks Unlimited regional biologist, Russ Terry, “Michigan has lost more than 50% of its original wetlands. However, wetland loss has been more extreme in southeast Michigan, exceeding 90% in many counties. The acquisition and permanent protection of one of the last pieces of natural, high-quality Lake Erie coastal marsh is an outstanding conservation achievement that DU and our partners are very proud of. The acquisition of this land will provide habitat for a wide range of fish and wildlife species, expand state ownership and provide additional acreage for public recreation in this heavily populated area of southeast Michigan.”
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.