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Nebraska receives fourth NAWCA grant for Rainwater Basin critical to migrating waterfowl

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HOLDREGE, NE, April 28, 2008 – More than 2,600 acres of waterfowl habitat in the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska will be conserved thanks to a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. Ducks Unlimited and its partners received the grant totaling more than $736,000. Project partners provided an additional $736,000 in matching funds.

“Millions of waterfowl and other birds use the Rainwater Basin during migration,” said Steve Donovan, DU manager of conservation programs in Nebraska. “The Rainwater Basin is especially important for ducks in the spring as they rest and refuel before traveling to the breeding grounds in the Dakotas, Montana and Canada.”

Biologists estimate that 90 percent of the original 4,000 Rainwater Basin wetlands have been lost. Additionally, many of the remaining wetlands are in poor condition. This NAWCA grant is the forth phase of an ongoing effort in the Rainwater Basin to combat the overwhelming wetland loss and degradation. The partners on this project are committed to bringing back the rich wetlands and plant communities that provide the foods needed by migratory birds. 

This Rainwater Basin NAWCA grant proposes 20 projects targeted to protect, restore and enhance important migratory bird habitat. DU and partners will work on private and public lands including four waterfowl production areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and six wildlife management areas owned by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

“In addition to the wetland resource benefits, it is important to note the grant funds administered by DU will contribute to the local economy,” said Steve Moran, coordinator for the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture. “A significant portion of the grant funds will be used to pay contractors, and reimburse farmers and landowners for wetland conservation work.”
 
DU’s partners on this project include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Environmental Trust and private landowners.

The DU governmental affairs staff in Washington, D.C. works with Congress to earn support for annual funding for NAWCA to continue the Act’s waterfowl conservation success. This project occurs in Nebraska’s Congressional Districts One and Three.

NAWCA stimulates public-private partnerships in support of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. NAWCA is a non-regulatory, incentive-based, voluntary and competitive conservation grant program. NAWCA provides federal cost-share funding to protect, restore, and manage wetland habitats for wildlife and many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities for people that include bird watching and hunting.

To date, NAWCA has helped fund more than 1,800 wetland projects on 23 million acres in all 50 states, every province of Canada and areas in Mexico. Thousands of partners, including private landowners, corporations and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.

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 – natures’ most productive ecosystem – and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

Information on NAWCA.

Contact:
Jennifer P. Kross , Office: 701-355-3515; Mobile: 701-202-8896 jkross@ducks.org
Becky Jones-Mahlum, Office: 701-355-3507, bjmahlum@ducks.org

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