- Ducks Unlimited, partners celebrate Washtenaw Food Hub conservation project.
- Nearly 100-acre project funded through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.
- Food hub will use restored land for sustainable food development.
- Project benefits local business, waterfowl and wildlife, and contributes to improved regional water quality.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Aug. 9, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and several conservation partners celebrated a local conservation success story made possible by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (GLFWRA).
The event was at the Washtenaw Food Hub, a unique farming cooperative that combines sustainable development with smart food growing practices. DU is helping the food hub restore 96 acres of what was once a heavily farmed section of land back to a natural state.
The project cost is $50,000, and is part of an overall $560,000 regional GLFWRA grant received and administered by Ducks Unlimited in 2013. In 2015, DU and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources planted 82 acres of native grasslands at the farm property. In 2016, DU and the USFWS will restore 14 acres of wetlands.
The food hub will use restored land for a mixture of sustainable food development such as grazing or fruit nut trees.
Jason Hill, DU manager of conservation programs in Michigan, said the habitat restoration also improves water quality by reducing the amount of sediment entering the Huron River and eventually the western Lake Erie basin.
"This project is upgrading habitat locally for wildlife, but it's benefitting water quality regionally," Hill said.
"Today we saw what can happen when public and private groups come together to preserve and restore wildlife habitat, which also supports economic development, creates jobs and benefits our environment," Dingell said. "That's why the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act is so important."
Since 1998, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has provided federal funding to 148 research and restoration projects in the Great Lakes Basin – from restoring habitat for the endangered Kirtland warbler to detecting the successful reproduction of lake trout in Michigan. DU used program funding on several wetland and waterfowl conservation projects throughout the Great Lakes region. U.S. Reps. Dingell, Candice Miller (R-MI) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) introduced bi-partisan legislation this year reauthorizing the act.
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 13.6 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.