Each year, more than 250,000 waterfowl and hundreds of thousands of shorebirds head to Nevadas Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge on their annual migrations.

This remarkable wetland oasis in the driest state in America got a major habitat boost recently, thanks to Ducks Unlimited and its partners.

Stillwater is in the Lahontan Valley, near the community of Fallon, about seventy miles east of Reno.

Aside from the massive numbers of waterbirds that use these desert wetlands, the 81,322-acre refuge is by far Nevadas most popular spot for waterfowl hunting and birding.

Over the past few years, Ducks Unlimited has overseen an infrastructure project that will allow refuge managers to use precious desert water more efficiently on these popular public lands.

The work began on excavating a canal on the refuge known as the Navy Cabin Drain. There, Ducks Unlimited oversaw construction of several new water control structures and removal of brush and weeds that had taken over the canal.

But the signature improvement was the installation of the refuges first-ever pumping station, which now supplies water to more than 1,100 acres of wetlands.

Due to how flat the landscape is, the pumping plant is a major improvement that allows refuge managers to move water quickly and efficiently throughout the refuge.

It's almost like a new source of water for that side of the refuge, said Amelia Raquel, a regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited.

Ducks Unlimiteds partners on the project included North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Nevada Waterfowl Association, Tim Fehringer, Friends of Stillwater NWR, Couer Mining, Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, Canvasback Gun Club, NV Energy, Nevada Department of Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

We are extremely grateful to Ducks Unlimited for securing the funding needed and providing the bio-engineering expertise to develop and implement this project, said Carl Lunderstadt, the manager of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This new infrastructure will serve Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge for many years and improve the habitat for all wildlife, therefore, improving the visitor experience as well.

For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to Follow DU's Twitter feed @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve 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 15 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 www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:

Ryan Sabalow, Western Region - Communications Coordinator

(916) 805-1210