Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative

The Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative focuses on a major staging area for waterfowl during both spring and fall migrations. Dynamic and highly productive seasonal wetlands, braided prairie rivers, and backwater sloughs are priority habitats that provide high-energy food resources for millions of ducks and geese. Publicly managed wildlife areas also offer excellent hunting opportunities for veteran and novice waterfowlers.

The Southern Great Plains is a mostly arid place, making water a valuable commodity. Many cities are thirsty and their populations are consuming more water each year. The needs of waterfowl and other wildlife often are not even part of the conversation.

As part of our Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative, Ducks Unlimited is implementing water solutions for all on the Southern Great Plains—solutions that will work for people while still providing for waterfowl. Through this effort, DU is bringing together farmers, ranchers, industry, public entities, and conservation partners to provide habitat in some of North America's most important waterfowl migration areas.

Among the most notable sections of the Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative area are the Platte River, Rainwater Basin, and wetlands dotting the Kansas landscape, such as Jamestown Wildlife Area. These three components of the Southern Great Plains comprise some of North America's most important waterfowl migration areas and will require unique conservation strategies to ensure a strong future for the birds and the waterfowl hunters and enthusiasts who enjoy them.

An Oasis for Migrating Birds and Hunters

Ducks Unlimited is restoring and protecting wetlands along the south, north, and central Platte River in Nebraska, Colorado,and Wyoming to provide an oasis for migrating waterfowl and other wetland birds, such as sandhill cranes. DU is restoring and protecting wetlands along the Platte that provide water for agriculture, communities, waterfowl, and other wildlife. These conserved lands also help preserve our cherished hunting heritage in the region.

Spring in Nebraska is a spectacle to behold when millions of migrating waterfowl stop in the Rainwater Basin on their way to the northern breeding grounds. The birds need good-quality foods high in protein and carbohydrates to prepare for nesting. DU is working with landowners and public agencies to restore habitat to provide for waterfowl on private and public lands.

Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states in the country, so it is easy to understand why land for waterfowl comes at a premium here. DU is working hard to provide habitat for migrating waterfowl and public access for hunters across Kansas.

DU 's Five-Year Plan for Heartland Heritage and Habitat

Ducks Unlimited is seeking to raise nearly $2.3 million in philanthropic funds from generous donors like you to achieve our conservation goals in the Southern Great Plains. Funding derived from the Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative enables Ducks Unlimited to conduct important science, public policy, and outreach efforts, as well as conserving the breeding habitats important to waterfowl that migrate through this region each year. DU's
research and evaluation efforts are the foundation upon which our direct conservation programs and our policy and outreach work are based.

Conservation work under the Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative will focus on continentally significant migration habitat along the Platte River in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming; in Nebraska's Rainwater Basin; and in publicly managed wetlands in Kansas. Waterfowl in the Central Flyway depend on the wetlands and river habitat in America's Heartland to rest and refuel as they make their way north to the nesting grounds and south to the wintering grounds. DU is working to restore and protect wetlands and provide water for people and waterfowl on this thirsty landscape. In addition to major donor support, this critical habitat depends on public dollars, which DU is working to secure through public policy efforts.

Waterfowl are a continentally shared resource, and Ducks Unlimited has worked across North America since 1937 to ensure a strong future for ducks and for waterfowl hunters. By contributing to DU's Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative, you will be supporting important waterfowl habitat conservation in America's heartland, as well as on the breeding grounds of the Prairie Pothole Region and Western Boreal Forest of the United States and Canada, where the vast majority of birds are produced before beginning their journey to the wintering grounds.

Five-Year Initiative Goals (FY 2012-16)

Habitat Delivery: 10,019 acres
Public Revenue: $23.7 million
Philanthropic Revenue: $2.3 million
Total Revenue Goal: $26 million

Initiative States:
Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

Conservation Focus:
Providing water for people and waterfowl on a thirsty landscape

Cross-border Conservation 


Waterfowl are a continentally shared resource, and Ducks Unlimited has worked across North America since 1937 to ensure a strong future for ducks and for waterfowl hunters. By contributing to DU's Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative, you will be supporting important waterfowl habitat conservation in America's heartland, as well as on the breeding grounds of the Prairie Pothole Region and Western Boreal Forest of the United States and Canada, where the vast majority of birds are produced before beginning their journey to the wintering grounds.

The Heartland Habitat Initiative Needs You Now

Your gift to Ducks Unlimited is invaluable, and it is truly the greatest contribution you can make to secure the future of wetlands and waterfowl. Every dollar you give to Ducks Unlimited is leveraged multiple times to create a conservation impact far beyond your initial gift. In addition, we invest at least 80 cents of every dollar received in our conservation mission. Start making a difference right now for waterfowl, outdoors enthusiasts, and future generations of wildlife and people by making your gift to DU's Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative. Help conserve more than 10,000 acres of key habitats in America's Heartland with your gift today.

Don't wait.

Call DU at (701)355-3500 today to speak with fundraising staff in your area.

Make an online donation.

Download a printable PDF for this initiative