FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelli Alfano,
Public Affairs Coordinator
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Ducks Unlimited Partners with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Conserve, Preserve and Restore Wetlands in the Lake Erie Watershed
Port Clinton, OH – April 7, 2006 – The Lake Erie watershed has been designated an area which to focus on as the Ducks Unlimited (DU) Great Lakes / Atlantic Regional Office continues their work to conserve, preserve and restore wetlands.
The Lake Erie watershed focus area contains some of the largest and most historically significant wetlands in the lower 48 states. Ninety percent of pre-settlement wetlands have been drained and remaining wetlands are threatened by development and urban sprawl. Despite these impacts this area is of vital importance to waterfowl.
“The open water bays and coastal wetlands of Lake Erie are used extensively for feeding and resting by migrating and wintering waterfowl and other wildlife. Emergent and depressional wetlands with associated uplands provide valuable habitat for breeding waterfowl. The conservation focus in northern Ohio is to restore and preserve wetlands on public and private lands for breeding, wintering, and spring and fall migrating waterfowl,” said Ducks Unlimited Biologist, Heather Braun.
DU has worked on several key projects Ottawa County with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
One such project was the Entry Pool Enhancment at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. This project enhanced 45 acres of shallow water wetlands. This wetland provided good seasonal habitat, but often became choked with purple loosestrife and other invasive species. In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, DU installed a new water control structure and improved the water delivery system to provide refuge staff with better capability to manage the unit.
Another project in Ottawa County was the Schneider Wetland Restoration. Here DU once again partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore approximately 27 acres of shallow water wetland on a recently acquired tract at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. To restore the area, tiles were broken and a low-level dike was constructed. Approximately 10 acres of warm season grasses will be planted adjacent to the wetlands in the spring. This project will provide important habitat for migrating birds during the spring, as well as nesting habitat for breeding birds.
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.