Recently-completed wetland project attracts large numbers of waterfowl
|Levee construction on Eagle Flats Marsh
, Iowa, Oct. 19, 2010 – Construction activities are complete and the pump is running to flood Eagle Flats Marsh in Hancock County. Already managers with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
have witnessed several hundred ducks and geese as well as a pair of sandhill cranes on the property.
Eagle Flats Marsh is part of a historic 800-acre formerly-drained wetland complex in north-central Iowa. In the early 1990s, the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered to successfully acquire and restore several tracts of land within this complex. However, DNR biologists continued to have problems effectively managing some of the wetlands because of drastically altered water flows and lack of sufficient infrastructure to manage water levels. In 2007, Ducks Unlimited, DNR and several local conservationists stepped in to help with this project.
“DU and the DNR designed a plan that would split the marsh into three wetland units where water levels could be managed independently using a series of dikes, water controls and a pump,” said Eric Lindstrom, DU regional biologist in Iowa.
The $500,000 Eagle Flats enhancement project was funded by contributions from state, federal and private conservation partners, including several DU major sponsors.
“We now have an ideal wetland unit with functioning structures that allow us to manage each wetland cell to optimize habitat conditions for waterfowl and other wetland dependent birds,” said Greg Hanson, DNR area wildlife manager.
The DNR began flooding the units in August. Once completely flooded, the area will comprise nearly 270 acres of high quality waterfowl foraging habitat. DNR managers report the pump is working great and that they will continue to flood the units this fall.
“We want to give special thanks to the DNR and DU’s supporters for making this Living Lakes project possible,” Lindstrom said. “We will celebrate this conservation success story with all the major contributing partners at a formal project dedication in the spring of 2011.”
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
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