Parcel acquired for wildlife refuge on Wisconsin-Illinois border

Partners make plans for Hackmatack expansion
LAKE GENEVA, Wis. – April 11, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited and the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Partnership recently announced the acquisition of a parcel in Walworth County, Wis. Final plans for the parcel are not yet known but will include either the eventual transfer of the unit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) or a local land trust for inclusion in Hackmatack NWR. The property is the first such parcel in Wisconsin.

The refuge was approved in July 2012, and the first parcel was added in Illinois in November. DU joined with the Friends of Hackmatack, Openlands and USFWS to help protect land in the newly established refuge.

A newer refuge, Hackmatack is expanding mainly through partnerships. "Partnerships like the one with DU are critical to the immediate and long-term success of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge," said Tom Larsen, Chief, Division of Conservation Planning, USFWS. "Currently, there are no federal dollars for acquisition within the refuge. Without DU and the other conservation organizations, we would not have been able to buy any land for Hackmatack."

There are 3.5 million people living within 30 miles of the refuge, and it is an important source of open green space in a highly developed area. The 86-acre parcel will eventually be restored to a mix of wetlands, grasslands and savanna. Nippersink Creek flows through the parcel and will benefit greatly by the restoration efforts.

"This parcel has excellent restoration potential. The marginal cropland with tiled wetlands will provide excellent waterfowl habitat once restored," said Brian Glenzinski, regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited. Glenzinski plans to work with the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to restore the property.

Steve Kass, DU director of development for Wisconsin and Illinois, has worked closely with the well-established partnership to protect land within the boundaries of Hackmatack NWR. "It has been a pleasure to work with all of the partners who helped establish the refuge," Kass said. "I hope this acquisition will be just one in a long line."

A cairn will be placed on the property to commemorate this historic parcel and the role played by partners and DU volunteers who contributed to the project.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU has conserved more than 13 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. For more information on our work, visit Connect with us on our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at and watch DU videos at

Kristin Schrader
(734) 623-2000