DU and Partners to Enhance Malmaison WMA in Mississippi

RIDGELAND, Miss., September 20, 2006 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) has been awarded a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to enhance 1,030 acres of forested wetlands habitat on Malmaison Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Grenada County, Miss. More than $1.1 million in partner funds will be matched with $590,000 in NAWCA grant funds to support forested wetlands enhancement efforts.

“Malmaison WMA is an important wintering site for migratory waterfowl in the Mississippi Flyway,” said Chris Cole, DU director of conservation programs in Mississippi. “Wetland enhancement on public lands is critical to maintaining quality foraging habitat for wintering waterfowl. Through implementation of this project, we plan to enhance bottomland hardwoods and forested wetlands that benefit several high priority waterfowl species, including mallards and wood ducks.”

Located within the heart of the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV), the Mississippi Delta has experienced tremendous losses of its forested wetlands due to clearing and conversion to agriculture. The wetland habitats within the LMV support a rich diversity of wildlife species. Forested and emergent wetlands in the region provide migration and wintering habitat for millions of migratory birds.

The Malmaison WMA project will positively impact 1,030 acres of bottomland hardwoods and forested wetlands. Successful delivery of this project will help ensure that the LMV landscape continues to fulfill its historical role as one of the most important wintering and migration habitats in North America for continental populations of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent migratory birds.

Enhancement activities on Malmaison WMA will include renovation of earthen levees, installation of 13 water control structures and installation of a well. The public will enjoy several significant benefits as a result of this project. Malmaison WMA is owned and operated by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) for the long-term conservation of wetland habitats and to promote public recreation. Hydrology on the 1,030-acre forested wetland will be enhanced, greatly improving opportunities for waterfowl hunting and bird watching.

“Our conservation partnerships are a critical component of virtually every project DU undertakes,” said Cole. “The Malmaison WMA project is no exception. Each of our partners shares a common desire to improve wetland habitats for wintering waterfowl in Mississippi.”

DU will collaborate with a diverse group of federal, state, nonprofit and private partners to deliver the Malmaison WMA project including MDWFP, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Wetlands America Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bobo Brake, LLC and Old Rivers Farm of Mississippi, LLC.

“Malmaison WMA is a great example of how NAWCA fosters public-private partnerships to restore wetland habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife,” said Larry Castle, wildlife bureau director for MDWFP. “This enhancement project will provide benefits to hunters, birdwatchers and all people who enjoy the natural resources of Mississippi.”

In Washington, D.C., DU governmental affairs staff works with Congress in support of annual funding for NAWCA so we can continue the act’s waterfowl conservation success.

“Mississippi’s congressional delegation has consistently been supportive of funding for NAWCA,” said Scott Sutherland, director of the governmental affairs office. “Senator Thad Cochran and Congressman Roger Wicker, both members of congressional appropriations committees, play an important role in obtaining these funds.”

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 of Mexico. Thousands of partners, including private landowners, corporations and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.

For more information on NAWCA, go to http://www.ducks.org/nawca.

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 ­- nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

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