Through science-based strategic planning, the Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office (GLARO) has defined landscape initiative areas based on large-scale watersheds. This allows us to address waterfowl and wildlife habitat issues as well as water quality concerns that are important to this region. Within these initiatives,we have defined priority areas in which to target our restoration activities.
Click one of the colored areas on the map above, or one of the initiative names below, to learn more about GLARO's Ecosystem Initiatives.
For more information on our conservation priorities and GLARO's other services, please visit our Resource Library.
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Atlantic Coast Ecosystem Initiative
The Atlantic Coast Ecosystem stretches from the southern shores of the Delaware Bay through Maine. Residential and commercial land-use impacts are the highest of the entire region. This initiative focuses on migratory and wintering waterfowl needs, with some breeding objectives for black ducks and sea ducks. The Atlantic Coast winters 80 percent of the flyway's Atlantic brant and 70 percent of American black ducks. The coastal areas provide critical migratory habitat for shorebirds, such as the red knot, and vital breeding habitat for saltmarsh-dependent species, such as the seaside sparrow. Unfortunately, the remaining coastal wetlands are under extreme development and economic pressures. Habitat conservation activities will help reduce development pressure and provide vital coastal habitat to the wildlife that depend on those systems.
The focus of the Atlantic Coast Ecosystem Initiative is to restore and conserve coastal watersheds, specifically tidal wetlands and inland freshwater habitats, which support and benefit waterfowl, fish, other wildlife and people.
Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 26,000 acres of habitat in the Atlantic Coast ecosystem already, positively affecting wildlife and improving the quality of life for people.
The Atlantic Coast Ecosystem Initiative is divided into three sections—or Priority Areas—with different conservation priorities and goals. To learn more about these sections, please click on one of the colored areas or priority area names on the map.
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Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Initiative
The Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary, draining 64,000 square miles.Approximately half of the wetlands and half of the riparian base have been lost, which has led to steep declines in water quality and bay grasses, with 70–80 percent declines in waterfowl production. This region, which encompasses parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware, is one of the most significant migration and wintering areas for black ducks, mallards, canvasbacks and Canada geese in the Atlantic Flyway. The Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Initiative places equal importance on breeding, migrating and wintering goals for waterfowl. Habitat conservation programs in the watershed will significantly improve water quality and provide valuable habitat for wildlife. The best way to improve habitat conditions for waterfowl and the other 2,600 wildlife species that live in the watershed, is to improve water through wetland, upland and riparian buffer restoration.
The focus of the Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Initiative is to fulfill the annual life-cycle needs of waterfowl by restoring, enhancing, protecting and managing wetlands and associated uplands while improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 53,000 acres of habitat in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem already, positively affecting wildlife and improving the quality of life for people.
The Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Initiative is divided into four sections—or Priority Areas—with different conservation priorities and goals. To learn more about these sections, please click on one of the colored areas or priority area names on the map.
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Great Lakes Ecosystem Initiative
The Great Lakes are the largest source of fresh water on the continent. Activities on the surrounding landscape have a direct impact on the lakes and the wildlife that inhabit the area. This initiative encompasses parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and a small portion of Illinois. Land-use activities are dominated by agriculture and industrial development, contributing to an average of 62 percent of historic wetland loss, with a continued loss each year. Shoreline development, fragmentation and poor stewardship of existing habitats are also major concerns. Industry, development and some agricultural practices continue to impact existing wetlands and uplands, degrading water quality throughout the watershed.
The Great Lakes Ecosystem Initiative's primary focus is to provide habitat for breeding waterfowl including mallards, wood ducks and blue-winged teal. Migration and stopover habitats along the lakes are also an important focus. Water quality is a key concern in the Great Lakes Region. Ultimately, by providing quality waterfowl habitat, Ducks Unlimited is also improving water quality by restoring wetland functions and adjacent buffer zones, directly affecting the quality and quantity of available wildlife habitat.
Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 90,000 acres of habitat in the Great Lakes ecosystem already, positively affecting wildlife and improving the quality of life for people.
The Great Lakes Ecosystem Initiative is divided into five sections—or Priority Areas—with different conservation priorities and goals. To learn more about these sections, please click on one of the colored areas or priority area names below:
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Upper Mississippi Ecosystem Initiative
The Upper Mississippi River ecosystem is the massive land area that drains into the Mississippi River and is dominated by agriculture activities. The Mississippi River and its tributaries encompass parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and a small portion of New York. This area has suffered the greatest wetland loss of the entire Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, particularly in Illinois and Indiana. The effect of agricultural practices has negatively impacted water quality within this watershed. Conservation goals focus primarily on migratory issues, especially in the southern parts of the initiative, and secondarily on breeding issues in the northern tier of the initiative. The Mississippi River and its tributaries provide a major migratory corridor for the Mississippi Flyway, which funnels more waterfowl to the wintering grounds than all other flyways. Habitat restoration and protection programs in the upper reaches of the watershed will significantly impact waterfowl habitat, as well as improve water quality in the Mississippi River and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.
The focus of the Upper Mississippi Ecosystem Initiative is to restore and protect wetlands and associated habitats that benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people; improve water quality and promote watershed health.
Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 87,000 acres of habitat in the Upper Mississippi River ecosystem already, positively affecting wildlife and improving the quality of life for people.
The Upper Mississippi Ecosystem Initiative is divided into five sections—or Priority Areas—with distinct conservation priorities and goals. To learn more about these sections, please click on one of the colored areas or priority area names below:
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