Ducks Unlimited teamed up with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Lake Erie Marsh Association to host the 14th Annual Ohio Partnership Hunt this past October. Nearly 150 participants were treated to three days of hunting, tours of wetland conservation projects, and other activities across the Lake Erie marsh region of northwest Ohio.
"Our goal is to educate our supporters about the conservation work DU and our partners are doing continentally, regionally, and locally in the Great Lakes marsh regions," said Russ Terry, DU's manager of conservation in Ohio. "It's our way of celebrating the waterfowling tradition and building relationships for conservation."
Twenty private hunting clubs and other landowners hosted hunts in this waterfowl-rich area of western Lake Erie. Guests harvested mixed bags of ducks and geese and had the rare opportunity to visit historic properties such as Winous Point Shooting Club. Participants also toured several DU projects encompassing several thousand acres of northern Ohio coastal wetlands.
Representatives from DU, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and other conservation groups discussed the importance of partnerships in conducting large-scale wetland restoration projects in this region. "It is the way we have to do business now," said Scott Butterworth, Ohio Division of Wildlife district manager. "We have to work together to preserve this for the next generation."
The tour included a visit to the 1,000-acre Howard Farms project. Ducks Unlimited, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Ohio Division of Wildlife, and NOAA are working together to restore coastal wetlands on this project site, which is located just west of Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area. DU is providing engineering services for this complex wetland restoration effort and has secured more than $2.83 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding from NOAA to support the first phase of this project. Metroparks and the Ohio Division of Wildlife are also contributing significant funding toward this project. Once restoration work is complete, the area will be open to the public for a variety of recreational uses, including waterfowl hunting, fishing, trapping, and bird-watching.
Receptions and dinner events held during the evenings gave participants the opportunity to meet members of DU's state and national leadership as well as representatives from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and other conservation organizations. The Ohio Partnership Hunt was sponsored by Community Choice Financial and Mossy Oak. Zink Calls and Demars Point Hunting and Fishing Club were also event hosts.