Westar Energy supported Ducks Unlimited’s work on Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) by sending their Green Team of volunteers to remove an old oil road blocking water flow to Big Salt Marsh. Several North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants were awarded for work on Quivira and this project will continue to improving management capabilities on the refuge.
"There were deep ditches on either side of the road preventing the natural flow of water to the main hunting pool on the refuge," said Matt Hough, DU manager of conservation programs for Kansas. "Now that the road is gone water from a nearby spring and big rains is free to pass into the marsh."
Westar Energy has partnered with DU on many other projects. Their goal for helping with work on Quivira was to enhance whooping crane migration habitat as mitigation for transmission and wind farm development elsewhere in Kansas.
"We knew DU was working with the Fish and Wildlife Service on Quivira and we wanted to help with a project that they hadn’t tackled yet," said Eric Johnson, biology program coordinator for Westar. "We have inhouse resources and volunteers to take on a project like this."
Westar Energy is the largest electric utility provider in Kansas dedicated to providing clean, reliable energy to its customers. The Westar Energy Green Team is a group of employees, former employees and retirees who volunteer their time to environmentally related projects. The Green Team organized the donation of bull-dozers from Foley Equipment, a local Caterpillar dealer, and provided operator hours to complete construction.
The natural hydrology on Big Salt Marsh is closer to being fully restored. When complete it will provide 2,000 acres of shallow-water marsh habitat. DU and partners continue to develop projects on Quivira to fully restore the wetlands and other habitats. Quivira NWR is recognized by the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance and a Globally Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy. Quivira NWR is open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking and more.
Additional partners on this project included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Playa Lakes Joint Venture and ConocoPhillips.
See more photos of the construction.