KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Ducks Unlimited and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) launched an ambitious two-year fundraising campaign to renovate Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest inland wetland in the United States. The almost 20,000-acre public wildlife area, owned by KDWPT, is a wetland area of international importance for migratory birds and an economic boost for central Kansas.
“Cheyenne Bottoms is an essential stop-over for millions of birds during their spring and fall migrations,” said Matt Hough, DU’s manager of conservation for Kansas. “The shallow wetlands and grass support about 350 bird species. Half of North America’s shorebirds and endangered whooping cranes visit every year.”
The area is recognized as internationally important to birds by the Ramsar Convention, National Audubon Society and American Bird Conservancy. Nearly 60,000 birders, hunters and other nature enthusiasts come to the area from across the county annually, generating nearly $3 million for the Kansas economy.
“Unfortunately, the wetland’s ability to attract birds has declined,” Hough said. “The Bottoms is filling up with silt, which plugs water-control structures and other infrastructure needed to keep the wetland in healthy and manageable condition.”
The area’s last major renovation was done in the early 1990s, and KDWPT wetland managers are hampered in their efforts to maintain quality habitat due to aging infrastructure.
KDWPT has initiated a multi-year, multi-phase plan to renovate the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area. The renovation will include replacing infrastructure and remove silt, along with other projects.
“Our partners at KDWPT have public dollars available,and we have pledged to raise an additional $300,000 in private dollars,” Hough said.
DU is also planning two special fundraising events this fall:
• Camp Aldrich, Barton County, Kan. – Aug. 15. Contact Josh Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org 785-824-3833
• Kansas City, Kan - December. Contact Chris Young, email@example.com 913-605-1063
For more information on how you can help Bring Back the Bottoms, contact Kirk Davidson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-927-1949 or Eric Lindstrom, email@example.com, 701-355-3503.
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.