ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Aug. 11 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded Ducks Unlimited (DU) a $600,000 grant to restore 125 acres of coastal wetlands in the Maumee Area of Concern in Ohio.
The funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. The DU award is part of $8.9 million in grants distributed throughout the Great Lakes region.
DU will partner with Ohio Division of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy and NOAA to enhance 125 acres of coastal wetlands in the Toussaint Wildlife Area. The project will connect the wetland back to the Toussaint River for seasonal fish passage, install a pump for water level management and remove miles of unnecessary dikes. The project is budgeted at $3 million.
In 2013, DU and NOAA entered into a regional partnership to work on projects in the Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC). These locations are designated by the EPA as having experienced environmental degradation. They have significant impairment of beneficial uses as a result of local human activities.
"We value the continued support from NOAA and the partnership that successfully implemented priority wetland projects throughout the Great Lakes Areas of Concern," said Jason Hill, manager of conservation programs for DU's Great Lakes Initiative.
Since 2013, NOAA has allocated more than $2.8 million in funding to DU, primarily for the Howard Farms restoration project in Ohio's Maumee River Area of Concern. That project, now in construction, is converting nearly 1,000 acres of former agriculture land back into wetlands.
The Great Lakes basin includes the nation's only system of freshwater coastal wetlands and the largest freshwater estuary in the United States. The Great Lakes watershed has suffered some of the highest rates of wetland losses on the continent, with some areas having lost more than 90 percent of their original wetlands.
Since the majority of Great Lakes AOC's are in coastal and riparian zones, the restoration and enhancement of wetlands in these areas is vital to addressing many of the fish and wildlife habitat-related beneficial use issues.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 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. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.