GREAT BEND, Kan. - Ducks Unlimited is working to raise $300,000 in private funds to support the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourisms (KDWPT) plan to restore the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area. KDWPT will invest millions of dollars in a multi-year effort to renovate the area, which includes the largest inland wetland in the United States.

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This public wildlife area supports hundreds of thousands of migratory birds annually. The more than tens of thousands of visitors it attracts each year provide an economic boost for south-central Kansas.

Cheyenne Bottoms is an essential stop-over for birds during their spring and fall migrations, said Matt Hough, DUs manager of conservation for Kansas. The shallow wetlands and grass support about 350 bird species. Half of North Americas shorebirds and rare whooping cranes visit every year.

The area has been recognized as internationally important to birds by the Ramsar Convention, National Audubon Society and American Bird Conservancy. Birders, hunters and other nature enthusiasts come from across the county, nearly 60,000 annually to enjoy the area, generating millions for the Kansas economy.

Unfortunately, the wetlands ability to attract birds has declined and will only get worse unless we act, Hough said. The Bottoms is filling up with silt, which plugs water control structures and other infrastructure needed to keep the wetland in good, healthy condition.

The areas last major renovation was done in the early 1990s, and KDWPT wetland managers are struggling to maintain quality habitat due to aging and dilapidated infrastructure. KDWPT has developed a multi-year major renovation plan, which includes replacing infrastructure, removing silt and other improvements.

Our partners at KDWPT have some public dollars available, but we must raise an additional $300,000 in private dollars to leverage and access those funds, Hough said. Ducks Unlimited has stepped up to help with fundraising and the restoration effort.

DU is also planning a special fundraising event:

  • Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kan. December 12, 2019. Contact Chris Young, 913-605-1063

For more information on how you can help Bring Back the Bottoms, please contact Sean Stone, 832-465-7836,,

For more information, visit, and be sure to Follow DUs newest Twitter feed @DUNews1937 to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

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 14.5 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

Media Contact:

Becky Jones Mahlum