Using a $1 million grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) as well as other funding sources, Ducks Unlimited and Phillips 66 joined forces to improve Kansas’s Byron Walker Wildlife Area. Owned by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the wildlife area is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Work on the property’s wetlands complex was completed in late 2020. Phillips 66 and several local businesses, agencies, and individual donors supported the effort, recognizing that completion of the project would be a big draw for birders, photographers, fishermen, campers, and others looking for a place to recreate in the outdoors. The project will also bring crucial tourism dollars to the surrounding communities.
“We could not have done the project without funds and grants from Phillips 66 and NAWCA,” says Angelina Wright, the DU biologist managing the project. “Byron Walker Wildlife Area’s popularity with sportsmen and women is a testament to the number of migrating waterfowl that use the area every spring and fall.”
The wildlife area has an array of wetlands managed through a system of levees, canals, and water-control structures. This project installed new and improved structures and levees that increased wetland habitat and allow KDWPT staff to use water resources more strategically to flood wetlands.
In addition to Phillips 66 and NAWCA, partners in this project included KDWPT, Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Wildlife Federation, Mark and Paulette Schlegel, the Lee Queal family, Delmer Schrag Memorial WildTrust, KANZA Bank, Arensdorf Construction, and Kingman Lumber.