DU celebrates conservation, supporters in Minnesota

Major supporters recognized at Anderson Waterfowl Production Area

Ducks Unlimited partners and supporters gathered July 8 at Anderson Waterfowl Production Area.

Ducks Unlimited partners and supporters gathered July 8 at Anderson Waterfowl Production Area.

DETROIT LAKES, Minnesota – July 10, 2017 – Ducks Unlimited, its partners and Major Donors recognized a significant wetland conservation accomplishment during a dedication ceremony July 8, at Anderson Waterfowl Production Area.

The ceremony celebrated a recent Ducks Unlimited wetland enhancement project that improved more than 100 acres at Anderson WPA and the supporters who helped make it happen through their generous philanthropic contributions to Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative.

“We’re doing this for the youth of tomorrow,” said Jim Demgen, Ducks Unlimited’s major gifts chair for Minnesota. “It’s a passion for me and it’s rewarding to show our donors the results of their generous support.”

Anderson WPA is 582 acres of public wildlife land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since the first tract was acquired in the mid-1960s, Anderson has grown to become one of the most well-known waterfowl production areas in the Detroit Lakes region.

Four large wetlands on the WPA were unproductive because of high, stagnant water levels. With private donor support and state Legacy Amendment funding, Ducks Unlimited in 2014 replaced infrastructure which allows water levels to be actively managed. This management by the Fish and Wildlife Service will rejuvenate these wetlands for waterfowl and wildlife and improved public bird watching and hunting opportunities.

“I am very pleased to help mark this accomplishment. Working together with Ducks Unlimited and local authorities to continue conservation work on the ground is central to our shared missions,” said Tom Melius, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director.

Ruth Hoefs, DU Minnesota Chairwoman, and Tom Melius, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director. Download high-res photos here. Photo © USFWS

Thanks to the enhancement project, biologists and land managers have the tools to restore and manage different types of wetlands to maximize food and habitat needs for a diversity of wildlife, including waterfowl, shorebirds, secretive marsh birds and other wildlife that depend on wetlands.

In addition to private Major Donor support, Ducks Unlimited secured a state grant appropriation for the project from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to pay for the project.

During the ceremony July 8, a bronze plaque was unveiled with the names of donors to Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative. The event drew 70 supporters, including Minnesota Ducks Unlimited Chairwoman Ruth Hoefs.

The vision of the Living Lakes Initiative is to enhance, restore, and protect managed shallow lakes and wetlands from central Iowa through northern Minnesota to provide high-quality aquatic food and habitat resources for migrating and breeding waterfowl.

More than 90 percent of the region's prairie potholes have been lost due to drainage and conversion and more than 99 percent of its prairies have been plowed under or paved over, resulting in a significant decline in breeding and migrating waterfowl numbers in both states, while accelerating the decline in waterfowl hunters.

Living Lakes helps preserve our rich waterfowling heritage and augments conservation of the Prairie Pothole Region.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:
Chris Sebastian
(734) 623-2017