Vermont landowners benefit from wetland program development

Ducks Unlimited receives grant for wetlands restoration work

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Feb. 28, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited is assessing projects for landowners in Vermont to connect them with funding to help restore wetlands. DU was awarded a $77,000 grant from the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation Ecosystem Restoration Program to continue its work promoting, developing and implementing wetlands restoration projects in the Lake Champlain Basin portion of Vermont.

The Lake Champlain Basin has been identified as a North American Waterfowl Management Plan Focus Area by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The basin is also a priority area for DU because of its significant value for waterfowl. The area provides breeding and, even more importantly, staging and migration habitat for tens of thousands of waterfowl, including American black ducks, mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal, greater and lesser scaup, common goldeneyes, ring-necked ducks and common mergansers.

"Vermont has an enormous number of wetlands restoration opportunities, but it's hard to know whether your property qualifies for assistance, and if so, for what," said April Moulaert, who represents DU on this project. "If we didn't engage in project development to connect landowners to programs, they might miss those opportunities, and Vermont would have to return the unused grant monies."

This grant allows DU to continue working under a unique partnership that was established in 2009 between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, DU, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the State of Vermont. These groups have joined forces to deliver the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) administered by NRCS and funded through the 2008 Farm Bill. In 2011, Vermont received more than $1 million in federal funds for this program, and a similar level of funding is expected for 2012. In the 2007 State of Vermont Lake Champlain Basin Wetland Restoration Plan, more than 86,480 acres of wetlands restoration opportunities were identified in the basin.

Landowners are encouraged to contact April Moulaert at (802) 864-2989 if they are interested in learning more about protecting wetlands on their property.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. 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.

Kristin Schrader