Ducks Unlimited conservation staff recently submitted three North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant applications for wetland enhancement and restoration work along the Texas coast. These grants have the potential to collectively improve approximately 13,000 acres of coastal wetlands.

If approved and funded, the first of the three grants, known as Gulf Coast 12, will provide funding via the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project (TPWP) in fiscal year 2016 to restore and enhance 2,800 acres of wetlands. The TPWP was established to deliver the habitat objectives set forth by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture, with the primary goal of providing habitat for wintering waterfowl to improve the birds' survival rates and body condition before spring migration.

Through the TPWP, DU works with private landowners to restore, enhance, and create an average of 3,000 acres of wetlands per year in a 30-county focus area along the Gulf Coast.

The second NAWCA grant request, Texas Water Delivery 1, aims to secure funding for the construction of wells and efforts to improve water delivery and efficiency on approximately 3,400 acres. Due to the state's ongoing drought, irrigation providers in the Lower Colorado and Brazos River Basins have greatly restricted and reduced the ability of private landowners to provide crucial seasonal wetland habitat for breeding, migrating, and wintering waterfowl. Texas Water Delivery 1 will assist landowners by developing underground water resources and delivering this water more efficiently to waterfowl habitats.

The third Texas grant would provide funding for approximately 6,800 acres of wetland enhancement work on private lands and the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area near Port Arthur. The project will enhance marshes around Blind Lake as well as alleviate flooding concerns in lower Jefferson County. Ducks Unlimited is providing technical guidance and implementation of the project for Jefferson County, in coordination with Jefferson County Drainage District 6 and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Support and approval of DU's assistance was gained unanimously from Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick and county commissioners.