Ducks Unlimited (DU) and its partners in Florida recently received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant that will protect and enhance over 1,000 acres of wetlands.

“The South Florida Ecosystem Wetlands V NAWCA grant will enable DU to partner with the FL Dept. of Environmental Protection to restore the hydrology to the Dan House Prairie ecosystem within the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. This grant will also advance conservation objectives in the Indian River Lagoon, one of North America’s most biodiverse estuaries, through a partnership with Brevard County on an acquisition project. Both projects in this grant will provide important habitat to waterfowl, waterbirds, and other imperiled species, while also enhancing public recreational opportunities,” said DU director of conservation programs for the South Atlantic, Emily Purcell.

The South Florida Ecosystem Wetlands V project aims to enhance the hydrology of 998 acres and permanently secure 72 acres through fee-simple acquisition. The project entails the enhancement of existing freshwater wetlands on a state property of critical importance to the South Florida Ecosystem and the protection of an existing private impounded mangrove marsh wetland in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) for the benefit of many wetland-dependent species.

This project also outlines a plan to plug and land smooth agriculture ditches and berms within historic wetlands to re-establish wetland footprint, restore water sheet flow across the landscape, and historical freshwater delivery downstream to estuarine wetlands. Five partners are collaborating to protect and enhance 1,066 acres of wetlands, and 4 acres of uplands in the northern IRL and Everglades Basin designated focus areas of the Florida Peninsula defined in the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture’s Waterfowl Implementation Plan.

Ducks Unlimited’s list of partners on this project includes the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Brevard County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wetlands America Trust, Inc.

Since its inception in 1989, North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants totaling more than $1.83 billion have leveraged $3.75 billion in contributions from partners. These contributions have far exceeded match requirements, allowing for the successful implementation of wetland restoration projects across North America. Federal and non-federal funding has resulted in conserving more than 30 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands across North America. The abundance of wildlife, including many species of waterfowl, other migratory birds, fish and mammals supported by wetlands, translates into multi-billion-dollar activities for Americans who enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and photography.

NAWCA partnership grants play an important role in meeting Ducks Unlimited’s mission, from restoring altered wetlands and enhancing water quality to reducing soil erosion and mitigating the damaging effects of floods. In addition, many projects provide outstanding recreational opportunities, like hunting and bird watching.

“Since its inception in 1989, NAWCA has seen unrivaled success in restoring North America’s threatened migratory bird habitats,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “These projects not only support natural places, but they are also good for local economies, support outdoor recreation, improve our water quality, reduce erosion and protect against flooding. We thank our friends in Congress for supporting this vital program and look forward to getting these projects underway in Florida.”

Visit DU’s dedicated NAWCA webpage to learn more.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands, grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 16 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent capital campaign. Learn more at