Ducks Unlimited supporters and partners gathered on a cold, blustery mid-April morning to celebrate the success of the recently completed Eagle Flats Marsh project in Hancock County, Iowa.
Located in Hancock County, which is in Iowa's Prairie Pothole Region, Eagle Flats Wildlife Management Area provides key staging and breeding habitat for a wide array of waterfowl and other migratory birds. Iowa serves as a continentally important migration corridor between traditional waterfowl breeding and wintering grounds.
In 2010, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and DU partnered to enhance 270 acres of the marsh by installing a series of levees, water-control structures, and a pump. These improvements will enable DNR managers to better manipulate water levels, promote more desirable plant growth, and optimize habitat conditions for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife.
"I was very pleased with the project results and the overall bird response we witnessed this spring," said DNR area wildlife manager Greg Hanson. "I'm excited to see the potential of this site in future years."
More than $500,000 was invested in this project by the Iowa DNR, DU, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and several DU major sponsors. These supporters were all recognized during the plaque unveiling ceremony. Support from the F. Maytag Family, John K. and Luise V. Hanson, McKnight, and Winnebago Industries foundations was also essential in bringing this project to completion.
"DU is very appreciative of the DNR and the many individual supporters that stepped up to make this project happen," said DU director of development Adam DeHaan. "Thanks to their generous support, DU is able to make strategic conservation investments in important habitat projects like these."
"Successful partnerships among government agencies, private organizations, and dedicated individuals are essential to these efforts," said DNR wildlife bureau chief Dale Garner.
Eagle Flats represents one of many Living Lakes Initiative projects that DU and the Iowa DNR are currently working on together. The goal of this multistate initiative is to bring life back to degraded shallow lakes and wetlands across Minnesota and Iowa, while preserving the region's rich waterfowling heritage.