Sparland, IL – April 25, 2006 –Restoration of Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) Wightman Lake property continues to move forward as funding has been secured. Plans call for the restoration of 65 acres of wetlands and enhancement of 75 acres of bottomland hardwoods benefiting waterfowl and other migratory birds. Restoration plans also include innovative techniques for improving water quality and providing habitat for the decurrent false aster, a federally listed threatened plant.
“This project will create important habitat for ducks and shorebirds during their spring migration along the Illinois River. It also will provide an opportunity for DU to showcase wetland restoration and management practices that other landowners can use on their property,” said Eric Schenck, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist.
DU acquired the 370-acre Wightman Lake property in 2005 with funding assistance from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and a grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The site is located near Sparland, IL in an area that has become a target for DU’s conservation efforts along the Illinois River. DU’s long-term plans are to donate the Wightman Lake property to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Funds for restoration are being provided under a C2000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional funds have been committed by the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, The Buchanan Family Foundation, Caterpillar Foundation, Ducks Unlimited major donors, and from an environmental settlement secured by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for the Illinois Conservation Foundation.
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 100,000 wetland acres each year.