In 2012, former Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) commissioner and Ducks Unlimited member Don Budd assembled a small group of fellow duck hunters in a Neosho area hunting lodge to learn about Ducks Unlimited's conservation work in Kansas and raise funds to enhance wetland habitat on Neosho Wildlife Area (WA). Then DU Manager of Conservation Programs for Kansas Steve Donovan, gave the group an overview of Kansas waterfowl habitat projects. Director of Development for Kansas Kirk Davidson highlighted the impact private gift dollars have in leveraging funds from federal and state sources to conduct large habitat improvement projects like what was needed at Neosho.

This evening of conservation secured more than $60,000 in commitments from the attendees and $60,000 from pledges by friends who could not attend. The success of this event helped DU leverage funds with a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, Pittman-Robertson funds and KDWPT budgets to target renovation of the main wetland unit at Neosho WA.

From that initial meeting until 2017, DU has been improving structures that will make Neosho WA a premiere migration stop for waterfowl as well as improve public hunting opportunities. Following the design and permitting phase, construction began in fall 2016 and construction was completed in early 2017. More than 1,600 acres of wetlands were enhanced by levee construction and installing a new pump station on Neosho.

The new pump station is capable of pumping up to 12,000 gallons per minute from the Neosho River into the marsh units. This capability allows managers to promote quality vegetation growth providing ideal wetland conditions for waterfowl and other wildlife. DU installed a network of pipelines on newly designed levees to deliver water and hold it at ideal depths for waterfowl use.

To contribute to DU's efforts in Kansas please contact Director of Development Kirk Davidson, or 303-913-2706.