Ducks Unlimited supports "100 Miles, 1,000 Acres" Restore Coastal Alabama initiative

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Nov. 16, 2010 – To combat the decades-long downward trend in the amount of coastal marsh habitat and oyster reefs in Alabama's Mobile Bay, the nonprofit Restore Coastal Alabama project based out of Mobile, Ala., will rely on a "100 Miles, 1,000 Acres" initiative to restore and enhance these lost habitats on the northern Gulf Coast.

RCA's ultimate goal is to construct 100 miles of oyster reefs in Mobile Bay and subsequently develop 1,000 acres of marsh and seagrass habitat, primarily through natural recruitment, but with supplemental planting as well.

"The successful restoration of 1,000 acres of new marsh could potentially benefit waterfowl whose winter migrations bring them to the Gulf region," Tim Willis, DU's regional biologist for Alabama, said. "Not only will the RCA project benefit area sportsmen and women, it will also benefit the local economy."

Bethany Kraft, executive director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation, said during the last several decades, Mobile Bay has seen a significant loss of oyster reefs, seagrass beds and coastal marsh habitats through dredge-and-fill activities, seawalls and jetties, erosion and storm events. Replacement or restoration of these habitats poses long-term benefits in helping to improve ongoing problems in Mobile Bay, from stormwater problems to shoreline erosion. While the marsh component is critical to rebuilding habitat for quick fish stock recovery, it will also aid in stormwater remediation, including nitrogen capture. This restoration will also make the coastline more resilient to future impacts from hurricanes, oil spills or climate change, according to Kraft.

"As state chairman of Alabama Ducks Unlimited, I am extremely proud of DU's commitment to support the Restore Coastal Alabama project," Wayne Keith, DU's volunteer state chairman for Alabama, said. "The DU members and volunteers from across Alabama understand the importance of restoring and protecting our vital wetlands. The Restore Coastal Alabama project certainly falls within DU's mission to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats. Our support for this project will continue our long history of restoring and protecting irreplaceable wetlands across Alabama."

RCA has partnered in this effort with the Mobile County Wildlife and Conservation Association, Coastal Conservation Association of Alabama, The Ocean Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Mobile Baykeeper and Alabama Coastal Foundation.

To learn more about Restore Coastal Alabama, visit
http://www.100-1000.org.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 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.

Lauren Oxner
loxner@ducks.org
901-758-3851