Ducks Unlimited was awarded a $77,000 grant from the Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program to promote, develop, and implement wetland restoration projects in the Lake Champlain Basin. DU will use these funds to connect Vermont landowners with funding sources for restoring wetlands on their properties.

The Lake Champlain Basin has been identified as a North American Waterfowl Management Plan Focus Area by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The basin is also a priority area for DU because of its significant value to waterfowl. The area provides breeding, staging, and migration habitat for tens of thousands of waterfowl, including American black ducks, mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal, greater and lesser scaup, common goldeneyes, ring-necked ducks, and common mergansers. In 2007, the Lake Champlain Basin Wetland Restoration Plan identified more than 86,480 acres suitable for restoration.

"Connecting landowners to funding sources is an important step in conservation," said DU Manager of Conservation Programs Bernie Marczyk. "Thanks to this grant, we were able to help landowners ensure that no available assistance was left on the table."

This grant supports an ongoing partnership involving DU, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the state of Vermont. These partners have joined forces to deliver the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) administered by NRCS. Vermont received more than $1 million in WRP funding in 2011 and a similar level in 2012.