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New place to hunt thanks to SDGFP and DU partnership

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WOONSOCKET, S.D., March 29, 2010 – Ducks Unlimited restored a premier property near Woonsocket, S.D., and has sold the land to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department. The property will provide essential waterfowl breeding and migration habitat and will be open to public hunting this fall.
    
“With the encouragement of several enthusiastic DU volunteers in the area, DU partnered with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to make sure the property remained accessible by the public,” said Jim Ringelman, DU director of conservation programs for South Dakota. “DU supports the waterfowl hunting heritage of South Dakota and values partnerships like the one with SDGFP that make it possible to increase public hunting opportunities.”

This property is a particularly good example of how the Wetland Reserve Program can work to restore wetlands and bring waterfowl habitat back to life. The WRP isn’t as popular as the Conservation Reserve Program in the Prairie Pothole Region, but it is important, as in this case where 390 of the 400 acres on the property were enrolled in the program. DU restored six wetlands, seeded 100 acres of former cropland to grass and got the noxious weeds on the property under control. The restored waterfowl habitat will benefit the ducks and provide significant hunting opportunities.

“Projects like this are exactly why it's great to be a Ducks Unlimited member in South Dakota,” said Don Aarstad, S.D. volunteer state chairman for DU. “The investments DU makes in South Dakota provide quality habitat not only for waterfowl, but also for pheasants, deer and a host of other species.”

“In the PPR, we lose one percent of our grasslands annually and we continue to loose wetlands as they are drained and destroyed,” said Paul Coughlin, habitat program administrator with SDGFP. “The Woonsocket property is now a premier waterfowl habitat area that will make a lot of ducks and area duck hunters happy.”

In addition to the restored wetlands and grassland, DU protected 257 acres of existing grassland on the property, removed interior fences and restored the terrain to a more natural condition.

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit 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.

Jennifer Kross             701-202-8896         jkross@ducks.org
Becky Jones Mahlum  701-355-3507   bjonesmahlum@ducks.org

 
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