DETROIT – March 31, 2021 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) and numerous partners protected, enhanced or restored 1,014 acres of wetland and grassland habitat on 14 Michigan project sites in 2020, greatly improving water quality and wildlife habitat.
The milestones in 2020 were achieved with field staff taking extra precautions and using creative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The acres conserved added to a sizeable historical investment in Michigan. Over the last 30 years, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 87,000 wetland and grassland acres across the state, investing more than $46 million in wetland habitats.
Numerous partners contributed to the projects, with federal funding from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“More than 50% of Michigan’s wetlands have been lost due to human development,” said Kali Rush, DU regional biologist for Michigan. “Our landscape-level conservation efforts help more than ducks. Wetlands benefit local residents by reducing flooding risk, improving water quality and boosting the economy.”
Highlights from 2020 include:
- Saginaw County – Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are in the planning phases of reconnecting large portions of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge floodplain to the Shiawassee River. The enhancement project will improve 1,000 acres of wetland habitat, crucial for local wildlife and flood prevention.
- Monroe County – The 4,000-acre Pointe Mouillee State Game Area along southwest Lake Erie is one of the most productive waterfowl use and fish spawning grounds in the Midwest. Ducks Unlimited and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources restored the state game area’s Cripple Point Unit by rehabilitating a half-mile of dilapidated dikes and installing water-level infrastructure.
- Southwest Michigan – Ducks Unlimited has received a $1 million NAWCA grant to restore, enhance and protect 2,500 acres in the Southeastern Lake Michigan Watershed. Six river systems flow into southeastern Lake Michigan: the Grand, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Pere-Marquette. St. Joseph and White. The environments formed by these rivers provide vital habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl, other migratory bird species, and several of the region’s species of special concern.
- Southeast Michigan – DU and its partners are addressing the loss of wetlands in the Western Lake Erie Basin of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Before 1850, the basin was an expansive wetland complex more than 300,000 acres in size known as the Great Black Swamp. Today, only about 5% remains. The partnership addresses the loss of fish and wildlife habitat and poor water quality in Lake Erie by restoring or enhancing 300 acres of wetlands in the basin, implemented through private land programs.
For a complete report of 2020 activities and a look into what’s planned for 2021 and beyond, see the Michigan's Conservation Report and visit http://www.ducks.org/michigan.
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 15 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.