MARQUETTE, Mich. – April 16, 2014 – The Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council (UPRCD), working in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited (DU), was recently awarded a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant for work protecting habitat gaps in an otherwise well protected landscape. The grant will also fund work related to specific management limitations at two of the most productive and intensively managed wetland complexes in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
"NAWCA is a valuable tool in the conservation of our precious natural resources," said Congressman Dan Benishek. "In the Upper Peninsula we understand better than most that we need those resources to thrive, and that an investment that draws stakeholders together can pay back many times over."
Other partners in the grant proposal include Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Nature Association, Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy, Raber Area Sportsmen’s Club, Sault Area Sportsmen’s Club, Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and private landowners. Collectively, partners have pledged more than $2.1 million dollars in matching funds in pursuit of this grant.
"This is a complex project that has a large number of partners engaged," said Darcy Rutkowski, executive director, UP Resource Conservation and Development Council. "It’s a pleasure to see all of the pieces fitting into place and leading to a significant impact on our natural lands."
The coastal wetland project will protect 2,272 acres and enhance 1,455 acres, including 2,143 acres of wetlands. The project will also secure approximately 13 miles of riparian waterways and protect an additional 8 miles of migration and breeding habitats along beaches, lakeshores, islands and Great Lakes shorelines, including habitat for the piping plover, a federally listed endangered species.
"It’s exciting for Ducks Unlimited to be able to partner with these groups in this part of the state," said Dane Cramer, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist. "To provide all the services we know wetlands can -- i.e. flood control, clean water, and habitat for waterfowl and wetland-dependent wildlife -- wetland managers need the ability to reliably manage water levels. This grant helps address those challenges in addition to protecting key habitat gaps along the coastline."