Grants Will Fund Lake Champlain Basin Wetland Restoration

Ducks Unlimited is pleased to announce that it has been awarded two additional grants totaling over $100,000 to continue its work promoting, developing, and implementing wetland restoration projects in Vermont's Lake Champlain Basin. One grant is from the State of Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program, and the other is from the Lake Champlain Basin Program. This area, which provides key breeding and migration habitat for tens of thousands of waterfowl, has been identified as a North American Waterfowl Management Plan Focus Area by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. The most common waterfowl in this area include black ducks, mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal, greater and lesser scaup, common goldeneyes, ring-necked ducks, and common mergansers.

Grant funding will support an ongoing partnership involving the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), DU, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State of Vermont. These partners have joined forces to deliver the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) administered by the NRCS and funded through the Farm Bill. In 2011, Vermont received more than $1 million in federal funds for this program, and a similar level of funding is expected in 2012. DU has been working on the ground to identify and connect with private landowners, who could be eligible to participate in this voluntary program. 

The Lake Champlain Basin Wetland Restoration Plan identified more than 86,480 acres suitable for restoration. Landowners made four WRP applications—totaling 106 acres—in 2010. An additional 11 applications —totaling 663 acres—have been received for 2011 and 2012. The majority of these signups have occurred as a result of DU's on-the-ground involvement.  Without this targeted outreach, much of the money allocated for WRP in the state could go unused. 

DU has prepared restoration plans on numerous WRP sites to help the NRCS expedite project development and implementation. DU members in Vermont who would like to learn more about WRP opportunities in the state should contact April Moulaert by phone at 802-864-2989.