As in other parts of California and the Pacific Flyway, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) has provided essential funding for the restoration of historical waterfowl habitat in the Tulare Basin. Located at the southern end of California's Central Valley, this important waterfowl wintering area has lost more than 99 percent of its original wetlands.

Thanks to a $1 million NAWCA grant and $2,247,028 in nonfederal funds contributed by a variety of partners, the second phase of the Tulare Basin Wetlands Restoration Project will soon be underway. This ambitious project will restore 1,906 acres of wetlands, 24 acres of riparian wetlands, and five acres of associated uplands and will enhance 500 acres of existing seasonal wetlands and 363 acres of associated grasslands on both public and private lands.

In Fresno County, five acres of native uplands and a one-acre riparian wetland will be restored adjacent to an existing 80-acre wetland along the San Joaquin River. At Mendota Wildlife Area, a low-lift pump will allow managers to recycle water on 300 wetland acres, conserving water and improving waterfowl foraging habitat. On Ace High Adventures Ranch, two deep wells will provide a dependable water supply for 1,566 acres of managed wetlands, 20 acres of riparian habitat, and 358 acres of associated uplands. Wildlife habitat on this 5,200-acre ranch is protected by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service through the Wetlands Reserve Program. And the Kern National Wildlife Refuge, one of the state's premier public waterfowl hunting areas, will be improved through the restoration of wetland hydrology and degraded infrastructure.

"We are trying to turn the tide of wetlands loss in the Tulare Basin," said DU regional biologist Chris Hildebrandt. "DU would like to thank all of our members, volunteers, and partners who support NAWCA, which is essential for wetlands conservation in the Tulare Basin and across the nation."