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NAWCA grant funds Ducks Unlimited and partners in conservation activities - MI

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – September 14, 2009 - Ducks Unlimited was recently awarded a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to conserve wetland habitat in the SE Lake Michigan Watershed. DU and project partners will acquire, restore, or enhance approximately 2,000 acres of emergent, forested, and scrub-shrub wetlands and adjacent uplands within the project boundaries.

“NAWCA grants are a crucial funding source for conservation partnerships such as this one,” said Michael Sertle, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist. “As a result of this funding opportunity, we will be able to cooperatively conserve critical wetland habitat for the benefit of waterfowl and other migratory birds.”

Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Nature Association, Potawatomi RC&D, Boy Scouts of America, R.T. Groos LLC, Ft. Custer Training Center, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to receive matching and non-matching funds to leverage these NAWCA funds.

Approximately $2 million in matching and non-matching partner funds and $989,000 in NAWCA grant funds will protect, restore, and enhance emergent and forested wetland habitat critical to waterfowl in SW Michigan. Many of the functions and values of these former wetlands have the potential to be restored by plugging drainage ditches and creating low head embankments. Conservation projects are expected to take place over the next four years with projects beginning in the summer of 2010.

“I am very pleased to see this grant awarded to a project very important to preserving and restoring these wetlands in Southwest Michigan, and look forward to the work Ducks Unlimited will do in implementing it,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “This is one of the nation’s most effective conservation programs and I am pleased this project will also focus on conserving associated upland habitat along Lake Michigan’s coast.”

The partners’ efforts in the project area will protect and restore wetland habitat in a region where thousands of acres of wetlands historically existed. Many of these historical wetlands were drained by drainage ditches, field tile, or modifications to surface drainage for agricultural purposes. The objective of this NAWCA grant is to conserve approximately 1,350 acres of wetlands and 650 acres of adjacent upland nesting habitat.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with 12.6 million acres conserved. 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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Kristin Schrader 734-623-2000 kschrader@ducks.org

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