ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 5, 2011 –
In just over three years, Ducks Unlimited and an impressive suite of partners permanently protected 11,135 acres of critical wildlife habitat in Illinois and Missouri with the support of a $2.5-million grant from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation using funds provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
"We were thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to use the very generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to achieve substantial, high quality habitat conservation on the ground," Dave Brakhage, DU director of conservation programs, said.
In 2007, DDCF provided a three and one-half year grant in the amount of $10.8 million to the INHF for the purpose of establishing and managing the Upper Midwest Land Protection Initiative. This initiative was designed to support the implementation of the State Wildlife Action Plans in the Upper Midwest states of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Under the terms of the grant agreement, INHF was to work with The Conservation Fund and Ducks Unlimited to implement the initiative. Ducks Unlimited entered into a re-grant agreement with INHF to specifically implement the initiative in targeted conservation opportunity areas in Illinois and Missouri.
"We believe this effort was a resounding success," INHF President Mark C. Ackelson said. "The mission of Ducks Unlimited was in great alignment with what we were trying to achieve with state wildlife action plans." INHF is a member-supported, nonprofit conservation organization.
INHF granted DU $2.5 million to permanently protect ecologically significant land in Missouri and Illinois. DU and its partners protected 3,746 acres in Illinois and 7,389 acres in Missouri. These lands are identified as high priorities for conservation by state wildlife agencies.
DU was required to match the grant funds at a minimum of 5:1 ratio overall. The final match ratio was 22:1. All together, DU and its partners used $2.5 million of grant funds coupled with $55.9 million of partner match funds to permanently protect 11,135 acres of wetlands and associated habitat in six different conservation opportunity areas.
"This program was extremely successful, with much partner interest. Without the support of the grant and the outstanding cooperation of area landowners, I doubt we would have been able to celebrate this accomplishment," Mark Flaspohler, Ducks Unlimited manager of conservation programs in Missouri, said. "Ensuring these critical habitats are forever protected from development is a significant step in the right direction for wildlife, waterfowl, flood protection and water quality."
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.