ALEXANDRIA, La., Mar. 13, 2006 – The Louisiana Governor’s Conservation Achievement Recognition Program named Ducks Unlimited (DU) the conservation organization of the year for 2005. The Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) organizes this program. It presented DU with the award at its 67th annual convention held in Alexandria, Louisiana on March 4.
Every year, the LWF presents the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards to an outstanding individual, organization and business deemed to have made significant contributions toward the protection and wise use of Louisiana’s natural resources. Accepting the award on behalf of DU were its Louisiana State Chairman Jason Thomasee, Louisiana Senior Regional Director Chuck Smith and Special Projects Coordinator Hugh Bateman.
“This award recognizes Ducks Unlimited’s efforts to protect wetlands for waterfowl and people in Louisiana,” said Thomasee. “In 2005, we restored over 15,500 acres of wetlands in Louisiana, and we are pleased to accept this recognition for our hard work and dedication to the ducks and people of Louisiana who depend on the wetlands.”
Last year, DU made great strides to conserve wetlands in Louisiana. DU had phenomenal success getting North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) funding to complete several wetland restoration projects. DU also established the Coastal Wetlands Conservation Initiative making it a priority to restore Louisiana coastal wetlands; especially those destroyed by last year’s hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, DU pledged $15 million to restore and protect 52,000 additional wetland acres over a five-year period along the Louisiana coast.
A notable restoration project completed after the hurricanes was the Pointe-aux-Chenes Hydrologic Restoration Project located in Terrebonne Parish south of Houma. This project restored 4,736 wetland acres to improve the quality of the fresh, intermediate and brackish marshes in southeast Louisiana. The restored marsh is providing excellent habitat for waterfowl and benefiting people by providing clean water, flood control and storm surge protection.
“Ducks Unlimited understood the significance of this project and spearheaded the effort to complete it by obtaining $923,000 in funding through NAWCA and organizing a diverse collaboration of private organizations and local, state and federal governments,” wrote Dwight Landreneau, secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in his nomination letter to the LWF.
“We are honored Secretary Landreneau nominated us for this award,” said Mike Benge, DU’s 2005 Louisiana state chairman. “We work closely with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and without this partnership, we could not achieve our wetland conservation goals in Louisiana.”
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.
Look for Ducks Unlimited on the World Wide Web at www.ducks.org. Tune into The World of Ducks Unlimited Radio Network, and starting again in July, watch Ducks Unlimited Television on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN).