Wetlands America Trust and Ducks Unlimited have donated a 107-acre tract of land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion into the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in southwest Indiana.

Purchased in two separate parcels along the Patoka River in the Oatsville Bottoms, this land protection effort was funded with support from the National Wild Turkey Federation, Friends of Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area, the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) and Ducks Unlimited Indiana specialty license plate funds.

A mixture of hardwood forest and remnant oxbows, this land provides important breeding, migration and wintering habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife, said Michael Sertle, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist in Indiana.

These properties will be included into public ownership and will be open to public recreation per Patoka River NWR rules and regulations.

Over the last three years, Ducks Unlimited has helped acquire 16 properties totaling more than 2,300 acres at Patoka River NWR. The new land was purchased with part of a $1 million NAWCA grant awarded in 2014.

Permanently protecting this land helps ensure its availability and management for migrating and wintering waterfowl. As migration and weather patterns change, a slow trend of waterfowl wintering further north requires conservation of not only migration but also important wintering habitat in southern Indiana.

So far, the Fish and Wildlife Service and DU have permanently protected more than 4,500 acres of wetland and upland habitat at Patoka River and restored an additional 1,300 acres of wetland and upland habitat.