After decades of effort, Skagit Land Trust recently closed on the purchase of 225 acres on the eastern edge of Mount Vernon, Washington, which will protect Barney Lake. DU helped the Trust secure a grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which provided half of the funding for the $795,000 purchase. Community donors and other partners contributed the rest of the funding. Skagit Land Trust will partner with DU to restore vital wildlife habitat on various areas of the property.

Barney Lake is an important wintering area for trumpeter swans. Thousands of ducks also make the lake their winter home, and many stay to breed there as well. Barney Lake also supports many other species of birds and wildlife, from blue herons and songbirds to amphibians and juvenile salmon.

"Ducks Unlimited is very pleased to partner with Skagit Land Trust to protect such critical wetland habitat, especially on this scale," said Curt Mykut, manager of conservation programs for DU. "North Puget Sound and western Skagit County support the highest density of migrating and wintering waterfowl in the northern Pacific Flyway. The birds depend on freshwater wetland systems like Barney Lake, so we applaud the Trust's great leadership in making this important acquisition happen."