Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited recently secured a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to support enhancements to a complex of abandoned catfish ponds on the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

Located 4 miles east of the Mississippi River and 28 miles south of Greenville, Mississippi, in Washington County, Yazoo NWR consists of 12,941 acres of bottomland hardwoods, swamps, agricultural fields, hardwood reforestation areas and managed impoundments. The refuge has ridge and swale topography created by the ancient meanderings of the Mississippi River, and its primary habitat feature is the approximately 4,000-acre Swan Lake oxbow. With more than 650 acres of moist soil and flooded agricultural impoundments and 1,350 acres of green tree reservoirs, the refuge provides significant habitat for wintering waterfowl and resident wood ducks.

The existing needs are for water management infrastructure and the removal of interior levees to enhance management abilities. Funds will be used to enhance 200 acres of moist soil/ flooded agriculture rotation wetlands through the removal of interior levees, replacement and addition of 10 water control structures and installation of two new wells and associated underground piping. Partners include the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, DU, Wetlands America Trust, Mississippi Land Trust, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and conservation easement landowners. Construction should be complete in the summer of 2019.