JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. - July 30, 2018 - A new agreement will enhance wetlands for waterfowl, other wildlife and people on Georgia's premier coastal wildlife management area (WMA). Multiple wetland restoration projects on Altamaha WMA will improve public recreation opportunities, water quality, coastal resilience and waterfowl habitat over the next five years.

Staff members from Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) announced the recently signed agreement at the Georgia DU State Convention on Jekyll Island July 21.

"Working with wetland restoration experts from DU, we will restore and enhance all of the managed wetland units on Altamaha WMA," GADNR Chief of Game Management John W. Bowers said. "Altamaha is a very important area for waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds and a preeminent public waterfowl hunting area. This effort builds on the already strong partnership we have with DU and ensures Georgia hunters, bird watchers and wetland-dependent wildlife have enhanced public lands into the future."

Split by Interstate 95 near Darien, Altamaha WMA lies within the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture's Coastal Focus Area and is a priority conservation area in Georgia for waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. The property has been impacted by hurricanes and major flood events annually since 2015.

"DU and GADNR initiated an assessment on Altamaha WMA more than three years ago and determined the needs at the property would cost between $10 and $12 million," said DU Director of Conservation Programs James Rader. "This $8.72 million endeavor will be funded through two North American Wetland Conservation Act grants secured by DU and funding from the Coastal Conservation Association, GADNR and FEMA."

Expanding on a long-standing partnership conserving wetlands in the Peach State, DU will work with GADNR to restore and enhance wetland systems on the Champney Island, Butler Island and Rhett's Island units over the next five years. Project activities will include replacement, enhancement and installation of water-control infrastructure in managed tidal impoundments. The work will enable GADNR managers to independently manage wetland units to provide quality habitat for shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species utilizing these areas.