Texas Prairie Wetlands Project

Ducks Unlimited and Partners Conserve 35,000 Acres Along the Texas Gulf Coast

RICHMOND, Texas, July 24, 2006 – The Texas Prairie Wetlands Project (TPWP) reached a benchmark of 35,000 wetland acres conserved along the Texas Gulf Coast. The program’s success is due to the strong partnership forged among Ducks Unlimited, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and private landowners.

“We established the TPWP in 1991 to help achieve waterfowl population and habitat goals established by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs for Texas Ed Ritter. “The primary objective of this program is to work with private landowners to restore, enhance and protect shallow-water wetlands throughout a 28-county focus area along the Texas Gulf Coast.”

Wetlands along the Texas Gulf Coast provide essential wintering habitat for many waterfowl species including northern pintails, mallards, and redheads. Resident mottled and whistling ducks also rely heavily on permanent and semi-permanent wetlands for nesting and brood rearing during the spring and summer. Other migratory species including shorebirds and colonial wading birds depend heavily on the wetlands of the Texas Gulf Coast.

The partners involved in the TPWP provide private landowners with technical and financial assistance to perform a wetland conservation project on their property. In return, landowners sign a minimum10-year wetland development agreement and commit to manage and maintain the wetlands. In most instances, landowners contribute 35 percent of the total project cost and agree to hold water on their conservation project for a specified time.

One recently completed TPWP site on the Sabine Ranch in Jefferson County restored and protected 220 acres of freshwater emergent marsh and 47 acres of seasonally flooded moist-soil wetland. Partners constructed levees, installed water control structures and improved overall water management capabilities. These improvements allow more precise management of water levels that promotes growth of desirable wetland plants, providing quality waterfowl habitat.

The TPWP guidelines require a project area must contain a minimum of five acres of shallow (6-18 inches) surface water, and during an average year, the water must be present for at least four months between September 1 and April 30. Landowners retain property and hunting rights on project lands, with project management plans strongly recommending moderate hunting disturbance.

For more information about the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project contact: Matt Kaminksi, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist, (832) 595-0663, mkaminski@ducks.org

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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