FERGUS FALLS, Minnesota – Dec. 11, 2019 – Ducks Unlimited has hired Douglas McClain as its newest regional biologist in Minnesota. McClain will oversee projects in the northwest part of the state, sharing office space in Fergus Falls with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Across much of Minnesota, shallow lakes dot the landscape. They represent prairie pothole habitat and are part of the “Duck Factory” that supports waterfowl breeding and migrating across the continent in fall and spring.
Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative was established in 2004 to protect, enhance and restore these vital sources of life. The Living Lakes Initiative now has additional expertise to meet its goal of creating steppingstones of actively managed, high quality, clear water shallow lakes.
McClain will coordinate projects with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conservation easements by Ducks Unlimited for the USFWS and restoration of land acquired in fee-title for the MNDNR. In addition to shallow lake conservation, McClain will restore small prairie pothole wetlands and surrounding grasslands.
McClain comes to Ducks Unlimited following a successful tenure as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ waterfowl biologist. He previously worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey. McClain received his Master of Science degree in zoology (wildlife ecology) from Southern Illinois University in 2016.
“Seeing tangible results from my work was a big motivator for joining Ducks Unlimited,” McClain said. “I’ve been involved in wildlife management my entire career, and DU has always been a close friend either personally or professionally. For protecting habitat for waterfowl and wildlife, this is the perfect mesh.”
McClain joins a state conservation team that completed 116 projects and conserved 25,068 acres of habitat in fiscal year 2019. Biologist Kassy Dumke covers projects in southern Minnesota out of Windom; Biologist John Lindstrom covers central Minnesota and is based in Litchfield; and Jon Schneider, based in Alexandria, is Director of Conservation Programs for the Living Lakes initiative in Minnesota and Iowa.
Ducks Unlimited’s conservation team has a daunting task. More than 90 percent of the region’s prairie potholes have been lost due to drainage and conversion and more than 99 percent of its prairies have been plowed under or paved over. Ducks Unlimited has invested more than $95 million to protect, enhance or restore more than 250,000 acres of wetlands and grasslands in Minnesota.
The state is crucial to the lifecycle of waterfowl. Containing a mix of prairie pothole and shallow lake habitat complexes and near-pristine wild rice wetlands in the Mississippi River headwaters, waterfowl flock to the state to breed and during migration. Those duck-friendly habitats have generated a long and storied waterfowling heritage in Minnesota. With about 45,000 Ducks Unlimited members, residents here understand and appreciate conservation.
DU’s landscape-level conservation effort helps more than ducks. Wetlands benefit residents by reducing flooding risk, improving water quality, refilling groundwater and providing recreational opportunities.
Visit www.ducks.org/Minnesota to see where Ducks Unlimited’s conservation projects have improved the landscape and learn how to volunteer to help ducks and wetlands.
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 14.5 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