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Habitat Restoration Project Complete at Roanoke River Refuge

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NAWCA helps fund habitat improvement for Atlantic Flyway waterfowl

WINDSOR, N.C., October 23, 2006 – Waterfowl and other migratory birds will benefit from the 411 acres of flooded bottomland hardwood forest that were restored on Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Wetland managers can now control water levels that mimic natural hydrology regimes which were altered when an upstream dam was constructed.

“Waterfowl species including mallards, black ducks and wood ducks use the forested wetlands along the Roanoke River,” said Craig LeSchack, director of conservation programs for North Carolina. “Completion of this project contributes to our overall goals to conserve habitat in the Roanoke River basin for migratory birds.”

Ducks Unlimited collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to construct levees and install four water control structures that allows precise flood level control within the forested wetland known as the Askew Tract. Water for flooding the impoundment will come from both rain and be pumped from a deep well. The USFWS will manage the Askew Tract and allow limited public use.

In addition to contributions from DU and USFWS, the North Carolina Attorney General Environmental Enhancement Grant Program and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant provided funding for this project.

Restoration of the Askew Tract is part of a larger initiative to restore migratory bird habitat along the Roanoke River. The NAWCA grant received to help fund this project was the first in a three-part plan to conserve wildlife habitat, restore hydrology and improve water quality throughout the Roanoke River basin. The North American Wetlands Conservation Council awarded the grant for phase two to the partners in March 2006.

“The North American Waterfowl Management Plan established a goal to conserve 200,000 acres of waterfowl habitat along the Atlantic Coast,” said LeSchack. “This restoration project brings us closer to that goal and will help support healthy waterfowl populations well into the future.”

"Conserving the Roanoke River Basin ensures essential habitat for waterfowl and hundreds of other wildlife species, and it provides a unique and important outdoor experiences for North Carolinians and its many visitors," said Congressman G.K. Butterfield. "I applaud the hard work, dedication and commitment to partnership needed to succeed in enhancing and conserving these extraordinary resources."

In Washington, D.C., DU governmental affairs staff works with Congress in support of annual funding for NAWCA. To date, NAWCA has helped fund more than 1,500 wetland projects on more than 20 million acres in all 50 states, every province of Canada and areas of Mexico. Thousands of partners, including private landowners, corporations and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.

For more information on NAWCA, go to www.ducks.org/nawca

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.

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