Ducks Unlimited staff and volunteers helped enhance 1,000 acres of forested wetlands on Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most important migratory stopover areas for waterfowl in western New York.
Construction began in October 2015 and was funded in part by a $62,400 NAWCA grant. The project included removing a berm, installing new culverts and planting trees to restore natural water flow to forested wetland habitat.
The Iroquois NWR complex and DU's work there support waterfowl during all stages of their life cycle, with peak numbers typically occurring during the spring and fall migrations. Iroquois NWR and adjacent state lands are staging areas for more than 250,000 migrating waterfowl annually, including Southern James Bay Population Canada geese; ring-necked ducks; greater and lesser scaup; canvasbacks; redheads; common goldeneyes; buffleheads; green- and blue-winged teal; mallards; American black ducks; and common, red-breasted, and hooded mergansers. The refuge is also a key breeding area for wood ducks and provides public access for many forms of outdoor recreation, including waterfowl hunting.
The complex also supports more than 260 species of birds and 40 species of other wildlife. Ducks Unlimited is leading the $137,000 enhancement project with the help of several partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cargill and Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.
As part of Ducks Unlimited's enhancement efforts, 10 acres of forested wetland were replanted at the Seneca Pool project site. Two volunteer efforts this spring attracted nearly 60 people who planted more than 1,500 trees.