Ducks Unlimited will help Illinois combat climate change with a $250,000 grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Climate Adaptation Fund, a program made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The grant will allow DU to implement adaptive conservation strategies to counter the effects of climate change on bottomland hardwood habitats within the Central Hardwood Region of Southern Illinois and Southwest Indiana. The grant pays for the restoration, enhancement and improvement of 1,225 acres of bottomland forest and wetland habitat. The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be DU's partners.

The project's goal: Make wet bottomland hardwood forests along rivers more resilient to flooding that is expected to increase in frequency, depth and duration because of climate change. Of concern to DU is the future of pin oaks, swamp white oaks, pecans and other nut producing trees that grow in the floodplain, which are important food sources to migrating waterfowl.

DU also is paying attention to potential changes in waterfowl migration patterns that may result in ducks wintering farther north, which would place a greater need on the conservation of bottomland hardwood habitat within the Central Hardwood Region.