Ducks Unlimited began work on the final phase of a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
project on the coastal Chenier Plain of Texas
. This project will restore a 300-acre managed freshwater wetland complex on low-quality fallow agricultural land on the Middleton Unit of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in Chambers County. DU will provide surveying, engineering design, and construction services to complete this work, which will include the construction of a berm and new water-control structures and the installation of a low-lift pump station to supplement moist soil irrigation.
The area will be managed for a variety of wetland habitats to benefit wintering waterfowl and provide important spring nesting and brood-rearing habitat for resident mottled ducks and other water birds. Access to high-quality habitat is particularly important to waterfowl in late winter and early spring, when the birds must build fat reserves for migration and subsequent breeding efforts. Recent research indicates that female northern pintails wintering along the Texas Gulf Coast have lower survival rates and acquire less fat reserves than pintails wintering in other areas. The habitat management capabilities provided by this project will therefore benefit pintails as well as resident mottled ducks, which have experienced population declines in recent years.