Ducks Unlimited was recently awarded a second-phase North American Wetlands Act (NAWCA) grant to fund habitat enhancement work with several partners as part of the Southeast New Jersey Coastal Program. These funds will be used to protect more than 1,600 acres of diverse wildlife habitat in Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Partners contributed nearly $6 million in matching funds in conjunction with the $1 million federal grant.

"We had great success with the first phase of this grant," said Jim Feaga, DU regional biologist for New Jersey and Pennsylvania. "The momentum is really building, and we're pleased to be collaborating with our partners to continue this important work."

In this phase, DU and its partners will protect diverse habitat surrounding Cape May National Wildlife Refuge near Green Creek. Conservation planners have set goals for habitat and waterfowl population numbers, and the properties to be protected will help meet those target numbers.

"New Jersey is the most densely populated U.S. state, and that makes any acres we can protect that much more important," Feaga said. "Our wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife, but they also provide opportunities for recreation, cleaner water, and flood control. These are very important resources for the state to maintain."

DU's partners on this project include the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy, Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.