Ducks Unlimited and its partners in North and South Carolina recently received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant that will protect and enhance 2,210 acres of wetlands adjacent to North Carolina’s Big Swamp and on South Carolina’s Francis Marion National Forest and Huntington Beach State Park.

“The Resilient Carolina Wetlands & Rivers IV NAWCA grant provides important funding to protect and enhance important habitats linked across the Carolinas, benefitting waterfowl and migratory birds while enhancing and expanding public access opportunities on national forests, state parks, and future game lands,” said DU director of conservation programs for South Atlantic, Emily Purcell.

The Resilient Carolina Wetlands & Rivers IV project aims to contribute to the regional conservation narrative through the acquisition and enhancement of lands destined for public use in the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture’s priority focus areas for waterfowl and migratory bird conservation.

One tract in this project, situated in the Lumber River Focus Area of coastal North Carolina and lies directly adjacent to Big Swamp, will be acquired in fee by the Open Space Institute and ultimately transferred into public ownership with the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This tract will be incorporated into the Game Lands Program for continued conservation protection.

Enhancement projects included in this project will occur at the North Tibwin Unit within the Francis Marion National Forest and Mallard Pond at Huntington Beach State Park. This enhancement will allow land managers greater water management capacity to encourage high-quality habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. The project on the North Tibwin Unit will also improve and expand youth waterfowl hunting opportunities on Francis Marion National Forest.

Ducks Unlimited’s partners on this grant include the Charleston County Green Belt Program, Open Space Institute, Knobloch Family Foundation, South Carolina Conservation Bank, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Since its inception in 1989, North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants totaling more than $1.83 billion have leveraged $3.75 billion in contributions from partners. These contributions have far exceeded match requirements, allowing for the successful implementation of wetland restoration projects across North America. Federal and non-federal funding has resulted in the conservation of more than 30 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands across North America. The abundance of wildlife, including many species of waterfowl, other migratory birds, fish and mammals supported by wetlands, translates into multi-billion-dollar activities for Americans who enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and photography.

NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting Ducks Unlimited’s mission, from restoring altered wetlands and enhancing water quality to reducing soil erosion and mitigating the damaging effects of floods. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, like hunting and bird watching.

“Since its inception in 1989, NAWCA has seen unrivaled success in restoring North America’s threatened migratory bird habitats,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “These projects not only support natural places, but they are also good for local economies, support outdoor recreation, improve our water quality, reduce erosion and protect against flooding. We thank our friends in Congress for supporting this vital program and look forward to getting these projects underway in North and South Carolina.”

Visit DU’s dedicated NAWCA webpage to learn more.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands, grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 16 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent campaign. Learn more at